“Beneath the cross of Jesus I gladly take my stand.” This is the opening line of a familiar hymn. I recently sang this at a communion service in my church. The cross is a very controversial symbol in our culture. Atheists want it removed. Others wear one around their neck. For the deceased it is a sign of remembrance. Churches display it on steeples as the main symbol of the Christian faith. I Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
To Christians, of course, the cross is much more than a symbol. It is the means of our forgiveness and redemption. It is the greatest demonstration of love the world has ever seen. The popular verse, John 3:16, tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Beneath the cross of Jesus we must, as Christians, take a stand. The culture needs the forgiveness, peace, grace, redemption, and hope that the death and resurrection of Jesus offers. Here is one verse, among many others, that speaks to this:
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed” (I Peter:2:24).
The cross also commands commitment. The Christian faith is not an easy-believism for those who truly take a stand for their beliefs. Jesus said a true follower will “deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Luke 8:34). This means sacrifice and obedience at all costs. Jesus went even further, as recorded in Matthew 10:38, by saying, “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
Not only is the cross a central focus in the lives of many people; it is also a central image of the universe, crying out its message of hope and redemption. After you finish reading this article, watch the important video. Of all the images the Hubble Telescope could have captured in deep space, it was a cross!
Even though people could come up with all kinds of reasons for this image, the verse that came to my mind is Colossians 1:17. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
As Christians we should humbly kneel beneath the cross, but gladly take a stand for the cross. Our mission, as stated in I Corinthians 1:17, is to, “…preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void.”
In what situations at home, school, or work, or in the culture at large, do you have opportunities to take a stand for the cross?