The Cross as Medicine and Food on Good Friday

Today millions around the globe will be mindful of the cross. So should we. Don’t ignore the cross today. It is an opportunity to think and feel rightly about it – that is, biblically. For us, and for all true believers, the death of Christ on the cross is the center of atonement. In Isaiah 43:25, there is a prophesy that sins are “blotted out,” and He will “remember them no more.”  

These words in Isaiah are a prophesy of our Lord Jesus hanging on a cross. Many have a fixation on the cross itself. That’s not what we should do. We don’t obsess about wooden crosses. But, we SHOULD BOAST, as Paul explains in Galatians 6:14,

“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.”

This means that our meditation on the cross ought to draw our attention is on the substitutionary atonement that was accomplished on the cross. Christ was crucified so that sinners would be rescued from being crucified for their sins. Further, God uses the cross to declare the foolishness of those who are perishing,

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 1 Cor 1:18-19 

For the apostle Paul, the cross was, as J.C. Ryle described it, 

“the joy and delight, the comfort and the peace, the hope and the confidence, the foundation and the resting-place, the ark and the refuge, the food and the medicine of Paul’s soul.” 

Samuel Rutherford explained how the cross means freedom,

“The believer is so freed from eternal wrath, that if Satan and conscience say, ‘You are a sinner, and under the curse of the law,’ he can say, ‘It is true, I am a sinner; but I was hanged on a tree and died, and was made a curse in my Head and Lawgiver Christ, and His payment and suffering is my payment and suffering.'”—Rutherford’s Christ Dying. 1647.

Ryle offers this citation, “By the cross of Christ the Apostle understands the all-sufficient, expiatory, and satisfactory sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, with the whole work of our redemption; in the saving knowledge of whereof he professes he will glory and boasts.”—Cudworth on Galatians. 1613. 

Ryle concludes his sermon with these words, and so I conclude this letter, 

“I lay these thoughts before your mind. What you think now about the cross of Christ, I cannot tell. But I can wish you nothing better than this—that you may be able to say with the Apostle Paul, before you die or meet the Lord, “God forbid that I should boast—except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

J.C. Ryle’s Sermon and some of the above quotations were taken from J.C. Ryle’s sermon that can be found here.  

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