Jesus Cross Treasure
Next Previous Index Tellout Home

21. Jesus Cross Treasure

Valuable Marked

Treasure MapThe cross is both a curse and a kiss depending upon how we respond to it! Finding Jesus' cross treasure is like frantically searching for a chest of gold coins marked on an old weather-beaten map. Just owning it becomes an obsession. Similarly, a hidden treasure in Jesus' cross awaits those who search for it! Jesus explains this in Matthew 13.44, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field." In another instance, Jesus offers a young man treasure in Matthew 19.21-22. After some discussion of the pros and cons of following him, "Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.'"

Perfect Pearl Parable

PearlsJesus tells another story to describe the Kingdom of Heaven. A merchant spots a beautiful and perfect pearl, much more excellent than any he had seen before. Hurrying out quickly, the merchant sells his whole prized pearls collection to possess this one of rare singular beauty and value. Finding such a treasure is like discovering the Kingdom of God, where Jesus the King leads his loyal subjects in perfect love. The discovery by accident or by design of Jesus Christ is so amazing. Jesus confirms this in John 17.3, "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." This new life in Jesus is so beautiful!

Jesus' Cross Sacrament

An Outside CrossJesus' cross sacrament is a great outward visible sign of the invisible victory of the Lord's death at Calgary's Cross. Jesus' cross is the means of forgiveness from sin for every person who, in repentance, asks. In church language, this is a sacrament. Jesus' bloody death at the crucifixion is sacramental. One man's supreme sacrifice is made available to those who love him both in the past and in the future. Jesus' act has eternal consequences! In every age, on turning to Jesus, people arise cleansed because of what happened at the cross. Forgiveness and peace flow from the crossroads of time in 33 AD to wash over the believer in whatever era he or she may be because of Jesus' actions at Calvary. How can the blood of Jesus, crucified so long ago, be relevant to anyone today?

Timeless Symbol

As Matthew 27.46 tells it, Jesus nailed on the cross, groans, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" In that eternal electrifying instant, Jesus knows the awful agony of separation from his heavenly Father as he bears our sins. Jesus' cross stands as the ageless symbol of the curse on sin and the burden the Savior bears. In Revelation 1.5-6, we read that Jesus "has freed us from our sins by his blood." By his sacrificial work, he "has made us be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father." He is God's faithful witness, who represents his people. We only know God because of Jesus, and because of Jesus' death upon the cross! The Jesus cross sign was and is a powerful sacrament. Holy Communion enshrines Jesus' cross sign. Saint Paul tells his fellow Christians in 1 Corinthians 11.26, "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." The cross proclaiming "the Lord's death" connects the bread, wine, and Christ's sacrificial death. No service of the Lord's Supper bears any authenticity without being tied back by the cross sign to the Crucifixion.

The Cabob

Caravaggio Portrait of BacchusCenturies before Christ dies, the cross is already a well-known symbol throughout the ancient world. The Egyptians call it a "cabob" after a T-shaped instrument they use to measure the rise and fall of the River Nile. The New Bible Dictionary tells us that as early as BC 1225, Greek worshippers also offered their god Bacchus special Bacchus cakes of flour with the sign of a cross imprinted on them. When Rome comes to power, the practice of nailing their worst criminals on a cross has its beginning. When Jesus' crucifixion takes place, the cross appropriates a much more significant and blessed role. It marks out a potential treasure, a golden opportunity for a life-changing experience. It is the marker over the door into the Mystical Body of Christ. The cross, though familiar, is vital to our understanding of Jesus and is the place where we begin to follow him. Jesus' cross decision uniquely decides our future. Jesus' cross truly becomes a crossroads in our lives. The cross symbolizes a choice in life. Jesus' cross decision marks one of life's unique turnings, which shapes our future destiny. Not to decide for Jesus is to decide against him! When our country holds an election, we pick one of several names by marking a cross in the box beside it. Selecting all the candidates, or leaving them all blank, wastes our voting paper. Similarly, Joshua in Joshua 24.15 places the same decision before Israel in his own time, saying, "choose for yourself this day whom you will serve."

Is Anyone There?

Rock ClimberEvery such decision demands faith in the unknown and the unknowable. A rock climber, while traversing a cliff face, slips and falls over the edge. As he falls, he manages to grab hold of a stunted bush growing out from a crack in the rock. Dangling precariously high above a rocky valley floor, he begins to shout desperately, "Is there anybody there? Help! Can anybody hear me?" Suddenly a booming voice replies from Heaven, "Let go! I will catch you if you believe in me!" The climber thinks for a moment, then cries out, "Is there anyone else out there?"

Body Hanging On A Pole

In the same way, choosing Christ requires a decision to follow Jesus Christ. Jesus' cross curse is both a blessing for many and a scary alternative for others. Jesus' cross sidetracks God's wrath when we respond to him. Jesus' cross is, in an authentic way, a sign of God's curse on human beings. The Old Testament asserts in Deuteronomy 21.22-23, "If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death, and their body is exposed on a pole, you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God's curse." The phrase "exposed on a pole" also means "hung on a tree," which is an Old Testament equivalent to crucifixion. The sacrificial lamb attracts God's anger upon the cross, but Jesus sidetracks God's wrath away from his beloved ones.

Our Sins on Jesus

Jesus holds the crossJesus' curse, therefore, falls not on his people but on Jesus himself, who becomes the target of God's judgment. It is a great mystery to us how this can happen. Our sins lie on him, and with the words in John 19.30, "It is finished," not just his own life, but more supremely, his work as sin-bearer finishes on his cross. The death moment marks the entry into the personal Body of Christ but also the call to a new life. 2 Corinthians 4.7-12 described it, "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

Creator Loves the Creation

Roman soldierThe Roman authorities in Jesus' day punished a murderer by making him carry around the decomposing corpse of his victim strapped to his back. The curse of our sin submerges in the all-cleansing ocean of God's love. Jesus' cross is the mark of the Creator's "Big C" love for his "little c" creation. Jesus Christ's love illuminates his willingness to die on the cross for us. His word is a valentine's card returning his love for all. The cross of Jesus is primarily a place of God's love. There, Jesus Christ's love for all people shines forth. Jesus beckons all men and women, every boy and girl, to the transforming and regenerating love of Jesus himself. In the same way, the cross at the end of an email or letter declares the sender's love.

Cryptogram

Child in a hatOn my Valentine cards as a teenager, I marked little encoded messages like S.W.A.L.K., meaning "Sealed With A Loving Kiss" and H.O.L.L.A.N.D. "Hope Our Love Lasts And Never Dies!" These were a type of "cryptogram." A cryptogram is a type of puzzle that consists of a short piece of encrypted text. In the same way, the cross of Jesus is a cryptogram of Jesus' love, a kiss blown across the ages. By returning Jesus' love and opening our arms wide to him, we become his children. John 1.12 tells us, "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." Christianity founds this kind of life-changing encounter with Jesus. It finds its perfection in the group of Christians who are united by Christ and become the household Body of Christ. When he touches our lives, others will say, "you have kept this good wine till now!"

"Jesus Cross Treasure"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

^Top Page Next Previous