WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS

Without idolizing the cross on which Jesus died, we need to remember the seriousness of it and the life-changing impact it has in our Christian walk.

Eternal Perspectives      by Sally Bair

The Wondrous Cross  

While growing up on the farm, I often visited the lone beechnut tree that stood like a sentinel at the top of our pasture hill. In the winter I’d gaze at it from my bedroom window, in awe that it remained upright during the frequent, severe storms that uprooted other trees. Because the tree stood erect, alive and well, it offered shelter for the wild creatures, oxygen for our bodies, shade for the cattle and beauty for the beholder.

With age, I’ve come to be in awe of another tree, that on which Jesus was crucified. Without Jesus’ death on that cross, there would be no salvation from our sins. I wonder how many Christians truly consider the seriousness of the cross of Christ, which offers us such great deliverance.

I find it interesting that the living Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—the tree that was off-limits to Adam and Eve—brought spiritual death to them when they disobeyed God and ate from it. Conversely, the cross that bore Jesus’ body—fashioned from a dead tree—brought life to those who chose to believe in and follow Him.

The depth of meaning to the cross of Christ is immortalized in a hymn by Isaac Watts: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.

When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ, my God; All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down; Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small: Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Paul writes, “You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins … But God has now brought you to life with Christ; God forgave us all our sins. He canceled the unfavorable record of our debts, with its binding rules, and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

The more we believe in the tree—the cross of Christ—the more alive we will become.

Lord, we pray Paul’s words from Galatians 6:14: “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” In Jesus’ name, amen.