The Old Rugged Cross

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

If you see someone walking around with a smudged cross on their forehead, you will know that Lent has begun. The season of Lent, the forty days before Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday and then concludes with the remembrance of Jesus’ death.  It is a time set aside as a time for soul-searching; a time to take stock and repent for our sins.  It is a time to contemplate the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross.  For many, the cross stands as a symbol of shame as the popular hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross”, states.

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.

Jesus “endured that cross”. When we look at the crucifixion scene, we may be over-whelmed with thoughts of physical pain. But, Jesus endured far more pain when He was nailed to that cross. He was suffering not only physically but spiritually as well.  He was paying for our sins and the sins of the whole world.  He endured the punishment of hell in our place so that we don’t have to endure it. Through His suffering and death on that cross, Jesus has won for us eternal life.  This is the meaning and purpose of Jesus’ death.  Our sins are forgiven! Repent and believe the Good News! Because God’s children have been blessed with this great gift of forgiveness, we no longer look upon that old rugged cross as just a symbol of suffering and shame.  It is for us the symbol of salvation. May it be for you also.