The glory of the Cross
The above title is really a contradiction. The cross is symbolic of shame and suffering, yet God has changed shame and suffering into the means of His glory.
The glory of his love – The Lord Jesus said “ Love your enemies” and so it was at the cross, His enemies succeeded in giving Him a criminals death, but He overcame their hatred by still loving them. He committed His cause into the hands of God and said “ Father forgive them”. They thought they had won the day, but not really. His character in love triumphed.
The glory of atonement – The Lord from heaven said “the son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” ( Mark 10:45). Again He said “ I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15). A cross represented a death for one’s guilt, but God intervened to make it an alter of sacrifice for the guilt of others. God showed His great love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Our sins had incurred wrath, but the alter implemented peace. God triumphed over evil by not sparing His own Son. Now the righteous judge can now justify the unworthy, even the rebellious people of Adam’s family. Such is the atonement of the Saviour, that those who turn from rebellion, will be brought into the very presence of God , presented blameless and without fear.
The glory of God’s sovereignty. Jesus answered Pilate “You would have no authority over Me at all unless it had been given you from above” (John 19.11). So many things said and done at the cross indicate that the prophecies of scripture were fulfilled in detail, but also showed that God superintended the happenings of the cross. Some didn’t want the arrest on a feast day, but God did want it on the Passover feast, because Christ was to become “our Passover sacrificed for us”. The soldiers planned to break His legs, but He gave up His spirit before they began this torture . They meant it for evil, but God turned it around for good, in particular by raising Him from the dead – the greatest sign to humanity of God’s glory.
I stand by the cross, and wonder at God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
I look around and with Paul the great missionary say “ be reconciled to God”.
There is no glory in a cross, but there is glory beyond our understanding in the Christ of the cross.
Perhaps we are beginning to discover what the Lord meant when He, nearing the hour of suffering , said “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified”. (John 12.23)
There is of course much glory that follows the cross, as He said to two dejected disciples “ ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory” (Luke 24.26), but that is a story for another day. Until then, linger often by the cross and enjoy the grace of the alter.