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How To Be Born Again by Billy Graham

How To Be Born Again by Billy Graham

Author:Billy Graham
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: ebook, book
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc.
Published: 2010-09-13T04:00:00+00:00


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8

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WHAT HAPPENED

AT THE CROSS

In jewelry stores from Fifth Avenue to the airport in Rome one piece of jewelry is universally displayed—the cross. Clerical robes have this emblem sewn on the front or back. Churches display the cross in wood, bronze, concrete, or brass. The last month of the year some office buildings light certain windows at night to form a cross which can be seen for miles.

What does the cross of Jesus mean? If we stopped people on the street and asked that question we might hear, “It’s a symbol for Christianity, I guess.” Or, “Jesus was a martyr and was nailed to the cross.” Others might say it was a myth, or a history major might say it was an example of Roman justice.

Another answer to the question, “What does the cross mean?” was given by the poet, Thomas Victoria. He tried to express how Jesus Himself might speak of the cross if we asked Him. The poet pictured Jesus on the cross, surrounded by men who were intent upon killing him.

Jesus looks at them and says:

Oh, how sweet the wood of the cross,

How sweet the nails,

That I could die for you.

This deeply personal, intimate view of the cross is what the apostle Paul taught when he said, “In human experience it is a rare thing for one man to give his life for another, . . . though there have been a few who have had the courage to do it. Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:7–8, Phillips).

The focus of Paul’s whole ministry to the great commercial city of Corinth was summed up when he said, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

The average person in Corinth would have answered a question about the cross in the same way as the man on the street in the USA or any European, African, or Asian country. Corinthians lived in a city which was known for its depraved moral character. It was the kind of town in which we wouldn’t want to raise our families. The Corinthians were a sophisticated, sexually dissolute bunch, who thought that the cross was ridiculous, foolish, and even idiotic. Commenting on this view, Paul said, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25).

In Corinth the preaching of the cross of Christ was a stumbling block to the Jews, and idiocy to the philosophic Greeks. The philosophers believed they could unravel divine mysteries because they were overconfident of their own mental capacities. However, Paul said that the natural man (meaning the man who does not have the Spirit of God indwelling him) cannot understand the things of God. He meant that sin has twisted our understanding of truth so that we cannot recognize the truth about God.

Before the teaching in the Bible about the cross can mean anything to us, the Spirit of God must open our minds.



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