Signpost to the Cross

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We all know what boasting is. The great boxer, Muhammad Ali, used to boast excessively about being the greatest. We can hear his phrases: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee –his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see,” or “I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and got into bed before the room was dark.” One time on an airplane, the flight attendant was asking Ali to buckle up but he snapped at her, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” She leaned in and said, “Superman don’t need no plane either . . . now buckle up.” And Ali did!

For most people, boasting is considered childish. However, the Scriptures tell us there is one way we should be boasting. In Galatians, we’re told not to boast UNLESS . . . we’re boasting about the cross. “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). The cross meant death. It meant punishment. The cross I deserved because I’m am a sinner was given to another for him to bear. Because someone else took my place, I now boast of what was done on that cross.

Along the way we have wracked up a sufficient amount of debt. Our choices have created a large due bill in our relationship with God. The cross provides the reminder that God is willing to stamp our due bill paid in full. When Christ cried out from the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30), he uttered the word (tetelestai), which means, “paid in full.” This word has been found on many an ancient bill of sales! It has also become a popular tattoo nowadays for many young Christians. In Greek it means, bring to close, to complete. It also means “will continue to be finished.” It was used in business when one party would pay another party and the transaction was completed. Both parties would speak this word to one another. Both sides agreeing that the matter was now closed, “paid in full.”

Right now, some of you are thinking: “It can’t be that easy. You’re being naïve. There’s a lot more to this.” That’s one of the reasons the cross is so offensive. People don’t want to admit they’re a sinner. To be cleansed from ALL our sin just requires us to connect ourselves to Jesus. Then our Sin is made white as snow. Washed white, in other words.

The American flags on the moon have all turned white now. That’s right, the flag that Neil Armstrong left when he first stepped on the moon is bleached completely white by the UV radiation of unfiltered sunlight on the lunar surface. The longer the exposure of the sun . . . the more bleached out the flags become until they’re pure white. My sins have all been made white as snow too—from exposure to the Son.

We can’t boast of anything. Nothing we have done is worthy of boasting. I can’t boast of being a minister; elders can’t boast of being elders; you can’t boast of your own humility; you can’t boast of your own piety; you can’t boast of your own service, or charity or even martyrdom, nothing! The only thing we boast of is the cross. What Jesus did on the cross for us is all we need now.

Starting in March, we begin a series of sermons looking at several of the signposts God gave in the Old Testament pointing to what he would do on the cross. For thousands of years, the Hebrew people missed these signs. But now that we’re on the other side of the cross, we can clearly see what God was up to. Each signpost is unique and shows us something different in understanding and appreciating the work that Jesus did on the cross. Come with us as we journey each Signpost to the Cross.

Ron Otto, preaching minister at Lincoln Christian Church



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