The hymn* says it best…
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.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, has a wondrous attraction for me; for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above to bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, a wondrous beauty I see, for it was on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me.
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true, its shame and reproach gladly bear; then he’ll call me some day to my home far away, where his glory forever I’ll share.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.
Singing this hymn reminds me that this is my dad’s first Easter in heaven. I wonder how the cross is celebrated there. I wonder if the angels share their recollections with all the souls saved by Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice. I wonder if every moment is spent in grateful praise. I wonder if my dad has touched the scars on Jesus’ hands and feet. I wonder how many trophies my dad laid at those precious nail-scarred feet.
Yes, I will cling to the old rugged cross because it is the only thing that makes sense.
“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God… This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans…” – 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
It was on the cross that the Lord Jesus suffered and died, in my place, so that I would be freed from the punishment of sin: hell. It was on the cross that my precious Lord was sacrificed to appease the just wrath of God against my sin. It was on the cross where my sin was put on his righteous body. It was on the cross where Jesus said, “It is finished!” It was the sacrifice of Jesus’ body that opened the way to the Father.
Then [Jesus] said, ‘Here I am, I have come to do your will.’… And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” – Hebrews 10:9-10 NIV
“Since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” – Romans 5:9 NLT
I will wear this object of horror, shame and death around my neck, because I cherish the cross. My home will always have crosses, because the cross is precious to me. Will you, with me, cling to the old rugged cross, until we exchange it someday for our crowns.
*The Old Rugged Cross
Text: George Bennard, 1873-1958
Music: George Bennard, 1873-1958