About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel - not with words with
human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are
perishing, but for us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1
Corinthians 1:17 - 18 NIV).
One thing we should
know about the cross of Christ that Paul referenced here is that our
western world Evangelical representation of the cross might not be the
cross's actual shape. The
cross's shape has been debated for centuries.
There are three possibilities of what it could have looked like.
It could have been the shape of a capital "T," a capital
"X," or a small letter "t."
More important than its shape is the message of the cross, which
Paul said should never be preached with humanistic wisdom lest the Holy
Spirit's power that accompanies its preaching is disabled.
Paul said that for
those of us who are in the process of being saved the message of the cross
is the power of God. Note that
it's the message of the cross, and I'd say spoken under the inspiration of
the Holy Spirit, that is the power of God.
Two pieces of wood have no inherent power, even if Jesus died on
them. The cross was a tool in
the hand of God to accomplish His will, and once accomplished, it was on
to the next step of the redemptive process, on to the resurrection, on to
Jesus having universal supremacy over all things material and all things
I understand the
sentimental significance the symbol of the cross, and it is a symbol, has
had for us Christians over the centuries.
I know the frustration when the cross is removed from public places
in our anti-Christ culture. I
don't underestimate that, but if a symbol could save someone we should be
passing them out on the street corners.
If a symbol could produce the life of Jesus in us who are being
saved, we should wear it on a chain around our necks, but we all know even
with its eternal significance, the cross can do none of that.
There is nothing
inherently wrong with wearing a cross on a chain around our necks, but
more important than that is how the power of the cross is realized and
demonstrated in our lives. We,
not a symbol, are empowered by the Spirit of God to be the living symbol,
the witnesses of
Jesus as Acts 1:8 states.
In 2 Corinthians 3:3 Paul
said that every Christian is a living letter, penned by the Holy
Spirit for all to read. What
do people learn when they read your letter of life?
If you are not that living, life giving letter, you become a poor
representation of Jesus. You
nullify any significance the symbol of the cross could possibly have.
More importantly, you nullify, even disable, the power of the Holy
Spirit that should accompany the gospel you preach and the life you live.
May your life be a
living symbol, a living letter, of the resurrected Jesus who now sits in a
place of supreme authority over all things.