Two sides of the Cross

Luke 23:44-48 – It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun had stopped shin-ing. And, the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. When he had said this, he breathed his last”… Mark 15:39 “When the centurion who stood there in front of Jesus heard his cry, and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”… Luke 23:48 “When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away”…Matt. 27:57 “As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.”
    Comment; At this point in time and at this point in the lives of those who were there, the Cross was a symbol of death. To the disciples, the Cross was the realization of the death of their leader… To many today, the Cross is still a symbol of the death of Jesus… However, as we will see, the Cross was soon to become a symbol of life, and so, our viewpoint all depends on which side of Easter you are living on!
    In Matthew 19 we have the story of the rich man who came to Jesus and asked; “What must I do to get eternal life?” And Jesus replied; “Sell all that you have, give to the poor, and come follow me.” It goes on to say that the rich man “went away sad be-cause he had great wealth”. He was unwilling to give up anything …especially his wealth…to gain salvation and eternal life. There are those today as well who stand be-fore the Cross and are unwilling to give up anything in their lives in order to gain eternal life. Listen, If you are on the Easter side of the Cross, you don’t have to give up anything!…You get something! You get Jesus! You get your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! You get a new life! You get a new attitude! You get a clean slate! You get forgiveness! And, you get right with God and He will work with you to take away all those things in your life that are killing you!!! You don’t have to give up anything!
    So, anger, fear, hatred, doubt, sorrow, grief, indecision, lost hope and death… these were just a few of the emotions and actions that were on the “Good Friday” side of the Cross… I don’t have to tell you that there are many people today still living on that side of Easter. How sad it really is, if we only see the Cross as the place where Jesus died.
    Well, what about the emotions and actions after the Cross? What about the Easter side of Calvary? “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” said the angel, “He is not here! He has risen!” … Then it says “they remembered his words, how the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again”… Matthew 28 says that the women “hurried away from the tomb, filled with joy!”… John 20 says that when the Lord appeared to his disciples in the up-per room, and showed them his hands and his side, “the disciples were overjoyed!” In Acts 1 – before His ascension, Jesus gives his disciples a mission to accomplish… Only a fool would believe that they would give their lives for a lie…. Or that we would have what we have today, some 2000 years later, if it were based on a lie.
    Peter, who three times denied even knowing Christ, now stands with boldness and preaches to the people saying; “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses to the fact…Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this, God made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!…
    Paul, who was living to persecute Christians on the Good Friday side of the Cross… when he was brought to the Easter side of the Cross, said “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes!”
    The people cried out in Acts 2:37 – “What shall we do?” “Repent and be baptized” said Peter, “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins”….
    On this side of the Cross, there is forgiveness! On this side of the Cross there is victory! On this side of the Cross there is eternal life! And, death becomes nothing more than a step into glory! Because, on this side of the Cross there is LIFE! … And, finally, on this side of the Cross, there is assurance… John says “I write these things to you who believe, so that you will KNOW that you have eternal life”…”I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word, and believes in him who sent me, has eternal life, and will not be condemned; says Jesus… And, listen to this; “He has crossed over from death unto life!” On one side of the Cross there is death… On the other side of the Cross there is life… Those who believe have “crossed over from death unto life!”
    On which side of Easter do you live? Are you living with anger, fear, grief, sorrow, sin and the consequences of sin?…With no real hope for today much less tomorrow?… To you, Jesus says “Come”…” Cross over!”
“Come unto me all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
“Come before the throne of Grace with confidence, that we may
receive grace and find mercy in our time of need”.

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