The story that took place on Mount Moriah is one that is familiar to many of you. God tied a ram in the bush so that Abraham would not have to sacrifice his son, Isaac. It was a moment of great redemption for Isaac, who was the bridge between Abraham and Jacob.
YOU HAVE HEARD THESE WORDS FROM THE CORNERSTONE PULPIT MANY TIMES...”HE IS THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB.” IF THERE IS NO ISAAC AND THERE IS NO JACOB, THEN THERE IS NO JUDAH. AND IF THERE IS NO JUDAH, THEN THERE IS NO JESUS.
Just like the ram caught in the bushes became a substitute for Isaac, Jesus became a substitute for you and I. Of all the trees that we can discuss in the Bible, we would be remiss if we didn’t look at a tree I like to call the tree of triumph.
This tree is still on top of Mount Moriah, but there is no ram caught by the horns in a thicket. There is only the recorded memory of the begotten Son of God, nailed to a Cross, taking my place...and taking yours. That is where we should have hung for our sins, but Jesus became our substitute...the Lamb of God, slain from the foundations of the earth.
The reason that you and I have the privilege of attending church and going boldly before the throne of grace to receive mercy in our hour of need is because of what Jesus did for us on Mount Moriah. It is certainly not a single thing that you or I have accomplished in this lifetime, for no good deed can buy eternal salvation.
Ephesians 2:4-10 says that we were without Christ, but have been saved by His grace through the shedding of His blood. It is His blood that reached out in our hour of greatest desperation and brought us near to the Cross, giving us the opportunity to know Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Without the Cross, there is no grace, no mercy, no church. Without the Cross there is no reason to rejoice. It is at the Cross that we were grafted into every promise and covenant. This is where we received our victory through Christ Jesus and were made heirs and joint heirs to the Kingdom.
At the Cross, we gained the keys to death, hell, and the grave. Now there is no fear of the future, for we know Who holds our every tomorrow. There is no fear of death, for it is simply the gateway to heaven.
Galatians 6:14 tells us, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.“
We often look at the Cross as a symbol and see it as something beautiful, like a piece of jewelry or art. And it can certainly be used in that fashion. But let’s not forget that it is a tree of total triumph; it is the source of our redemption.
The First Century Church saw the Cross as an electric chair. It was Rome’s preferred method of execution. It was a brutal, graphic, and an absolutely horrible way to die.
The Bible calls the New Testament believers a peculiar people. Think about this for a moment. The disciples have been following a Rabbi by the name of Jesus of Nazareth. He is now hanging on the Cross, condemned to die. And, while the Cross for Rome symbolizes execution, Jesus’ followers decide to adopt it as their symbol of redemption.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a follower of Christ, aren’t you? We have unlimited power through the blood-stained Cross, and yet we are failing miserably at tapping into this vast resource. This is why today’s modern church is not as powerful as the New Testament Church.
HOW IS YOUR PRAYER LIFE? ARE YOU DOING AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ON YOUR OWN AND THEN ASKING GOD TO HELP YOU WITH THE REST, OR ARE YOU GIVING IT ALL TO HIM?
The symbol of the Cross and everything that it stands for is the power of God unto salvation. That is why Paul speaks these words in Galatians. He wants to boast in nothing outside the power of Jesus that was given to us at the Cross.
What has changed every life? The Cross. As different as we may be from one another, we come together as we kneel before the Cross. This is where the Lamb of God took the sins of the world upon Him. He took my shame and yours and cast them into the sea, never to be remembered against us anymore. At that moment, we were forever set free.
We are free to worship. We are free to love each other like Christ loved the church. As Christians, we expect miracles to be a part of our lives as we cry out to the Cross when our hopes and dreams are shattered. There is no place in our lives that the Cross does not touch, does not redeem.
We are free to celebrate the gift of each day because our Savior lives! And, because He lives, we shall live also.
Aren’t you thankful for the Cross? What looked like history’s worst day became a day of total triumph... because when the Lamb of God spoke three words “It is finished!” we were forever changed.