The message of the Cross is essential today. You probably already know this — but we need all the encouragement we can get in these challenging times, and that is why the message of the Cross must be the centre of our preaching, teaching, mission, and focus — all of it focused on Christ.
The Significance of the Cross
Mentioning the Cross thirty times here is a reference to the Cross on which Jesus died, the greatest thing to ever happen for mankind. It is not the rugged, wooden cross itself, but rather the eternal impact of what happened on it that is so significant. The message of the Cross proclaimed in the Gospel is unparalleled, offering a message of redemption to all who accept it. Such a message, speaking of God’s love and extravagant grace, presents a radical challenge to the culture and social upheaval we are experiencing today, as well as a response to false religions that draw people away from Christ. It’s not a “name-it-claim-it” perspective; in fact, prosperity preaching rarely goes near the heart of the compelling message of the Cross.
The Cross as a Foundation and Transformative Power
The Cross looms over us all, casting a shadow that is a challenge, a treasure, or a promise to all and provides Christians with a firm foundation to stand on and brings a transformative power that changes the way they view and interact with the world.
The Bible itself provides numerous references to the centrality of the message of the cross and highlights the importance of the cross as the means by which reconciliation and peace with God are made possible. A prime example is Colossians 1:20 “And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Prophets and leaders
The vital role of preaching God’s Word and emphasizing the importance of the Cross is complemented by the uplifting ministry of the prophecy. The prophetic ministry at the mature end of its gifting can be used by God to speak to those in government or authority what is on God’s mind, and to help people and society get closer to God. God is not distant, but He wants us to recognize His closeness. That prophetic gifting is a form of spiritual guidance and direction and can be a powerful tool for encouragement and redirection.
The cross-centred prophetic ministry can help people to receive the love and grace of God that can bring healing and renewal in their lives. Through the gift of prophecy and other forms of prophetic ministry, the entire church have the opportunity to bring hope and encouragement by reminding people of God’s love and calling them to live in accordance with His will. This ministry is invaluable; as the world becomes increasingly complex and issues become more pressing, prophetic voices offer clarity, hope, and guidance, helping to bring people experiencing dark times to press closer to God.
Beacon of hope …
The message of the Cross that we focus on is one of hope, truth, transformation, and renewal, a vivid reminder of the power of God’s extravagant love and grace. The Cross is an ever-bright beacon of hope in a world of darkness and despair, reminding us that we can find solace, joy, and transformation in the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The Cross counters false religions that lead people away from Christ. These religions repeatedly promise hope and fulfilment, yet they ultimately deliver nothing and leave people feeling hollow and unsatisfied. In contrast, the message of the cross offers an inclusive, clear and concise hope and truth, rooted in Jesus Christ.
A Place of Invitation
The Cross is a place of invitation – all people are invited to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their Lord and Saviour and to open their hearts to the truth and love of God. Prophetic ministry as well as church leadership must continue to share the message of the cross in a way that is relevant and engaging for today’s world. The Cross is the ultimate expression of God’s love, and by embracing its message through faith and repentance, we can be redeemed and experience the joy and peace offered by a life in Him.
In a much more straightforward way, but nevertheless true: the Cross shows us how much God loves us and wants us to be saved. Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven. If we believe in Jesus, we can be saved and have eternal life. No matter who we are, God will forgive us and give us His grace. The Cross is God’s way of showing us His love. If we accept the Cross and turn to God, we will be able to experience the joy and peace that comes from living with Him.
Andrew Wilson can have the last word: “The Cross is an ever-bright beacon of hope in a world of darkness and despair, reminding us that we can find solace, joy, and transformation in the love and grace of Jesus Christ.”