[CF Devotionals] 2011-04-23 - The Old Rugged Cross

The Songs of Lent, 5

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Most of us are familiar with the song, "The Old Rugged Cross." Some of us have sung or played it all our lives. This song - recorded by everyone from Brad Paisley to Roy Rogers, to Willie Nelson – gets to the crux of the matter.

Because we have some young readers, I won't get too graphic, but suffice it to say that death on a cross is a very torturous death. The thought that someone would do that for you, for me, for all of us – is breathtaking. As God's holy word tells us, some people are indeed willing to give their lives for others. Every day, police officers (who like Christ, are often mistreated by the very ones for whom they sacrifice), firefighters and soldiers put their lives on the line every time they report to work.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man, someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us, in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8, NIV.

But what Christ did, giving His holy life for the likes of us – those who reject him, mock Him, forget Him and rarely put him first on the thrones of our lives – it is something words simply cannot express. I don't think any of us will fully grasp the depth and riches of that love until we are with Him in Heaven.

Through the years, there have been debates about who put Christ on the cross. Some use the cross to promote anti-Semitism, which is as illogical as one can be, since Christ Himself IS Jewish, and is in fact KING of the Jews.

"Are you the King of the Jews," asked Pilate. "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. Mark 15:2, NIV.

And if we believe the Bible, which points to Christ all the way back in Genesis, we will realize that the cross was part of God's redemptive plan all along. But regardless, in one sense, we all put Him on that cross. Our sin – our pride, our hate, our addictions, our greed – whatever our particular sins are – we are the ones who put Him there.

This Easter, I encourage you to join me in meditating on the words of this song, and asking God to help us grasp – as much as our human minds and hearts are able – the true meaning of Easter.

The Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain:
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.

(Refrain)

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.

(Refrain)

To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.

(Refrain)

Text: George Bennard, 1873-1958
Music: George Bennard, 1873-1958
Tune: ---, Meter: Irr. with Refrain

Public Domain

[email jan] Janice P. Moser
http://www.cfdevotionals.org

All scripture references are from the NASB unless otherwise noted.


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