"We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness" (1 Corinthians 1:23).
Since the time of Christ, there has never been an age when the cross was not refused. In the first century ad, Jew and Gentile were at variance with each other in most matters of importance, but they were united in this: that the cross was an abomination. Recently I spent at least an hour talking these things over with one who is well-read in the Scriptures, but he contended that the essential thing for cultured men and women of this age is to forget the cross and focus rather on the teachings of Christ.
Many modernistic "biblical scholars" say that Christ placed the emphasis of His own ministry upon His life and teaching. But the Lord Himself said to the two disciples going to Emmaus after His resurrection, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" (Luke 24:25,26). Instead of the cross being that which had broken in to blast His work and destroy all hope, He pointed out to them that the cross was actually His greatest work and the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies.
If we go to His teaching before He died, we find Him saying, "I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto Me." "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up." "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone, but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit" (John 12:32; 3:14; 12:24). When on the mount of transfiguration, He spoke with Moses and Elijah about "His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:31). The transcendent subject was not His life, nor His miracles, nor His teachings—it was His death!
When our Lord asked us to remember Him throughout all the ages, He did not ask to be remembered by His miraculous works, nor by His wonderful incarnation—He asked us to remember Him by His death. When He gave His disciples the bread He said, "This is My body, which is broken for you," and when He gave them the cup, "This is My blood which is shed for you." A man does not seek to be remembered by what he considers of least value in his life, but by that which is his greatest triumph or grand purpose. Listen to Jesus' own words: "The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
May we never forget the cross!
—R. McCallum, adapted.
The cross occupies such a central place in the Bible's story of redemption that about a third of the Gospels are given over to the last week of Jesus' life. —A. Rogers