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Christ cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

Sunday 27 November

Colossians 2:14-15

The cross stood right at the centre of the apostle Paul’s understanding of the good news. Put simply, if you want to understand Jesus, you have to see him through the lens of the cross. In his book The Cross of Christ, author John Stott summed this up when he wrote: “There is then, it is safe to say, no Christianity without the cross. If the cross is not central to our religion, ours is not the religion of Jesus.” For this reason, Paul focused his preaching on the cross even though he was fully aware that the message didn’t always go down well. Jews found it a stumbling block because the law of Moses declared that anyone who hung from a tree was cursed. Non-Jews just found the idea of someone dying on a cross completely foolish. How could anyone find anything commendable in the brutal death of a good man? Paul wasn’t fazed by these reactions because he had discovered that the cross was both the power and the wisdom of God.

It is always challenging to think about the cross. Even if we have experienced intense pain, none of us can fully imagine the agony of what Jesus had to endure being completely cut off from God. But what we do know is that no one will suffer for another person unless they love them intensely. So, as we reflect on the pain of Jesus’ agonising death, we need to realise that we are staring at love in its most intense form. As John Stott wrote: “If we are looking for a definition of love, we should look not in a dictionary, but at the cross.”

If you ever feel unloved or unlovely, the very best thing you can do is to look at the cross. What more could anyone do for you?

QUESTION
What’s your reaction to the fact that Jesus died on the cross for your sins?

PRAYER
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you that you were willing to give your life so that I could be free. Amen

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