April 19 An Image of Hope

Scripture Reading: Psalm 98:1–9

Key Verse: Psalm 98:2

The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.

How often do you see people wearing a pendant, charm, or ring in the shape of a cross? How many churches do you pass regularly that have a large cross perched atop the building or bell tower? Stained-glass windows, baptisteries, pulpits, choir robes—all of these things are commonly adorned with the image of a cross. We see this so often, perhaps we have begun to take the cross for granted.

From our modern-day perspective, we often fail to understand the utter shock value of the cross. If you were a citizen of first-century Rome, you would most likely live your entire life hoping never to see such an image. In that culture, the cross was the ultimate symbol of shame, horror, death, and curse. Crucifixion was so repulsive that the Romans would not allow any of their citizens to die by this method, regardless of the crime.

How did such a horrific symbol become an image of hope and mercy? By dying on the cross, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for mankind’s sinfulness. Every sin was nailed to the cross with Jesus, and it all died there with Him. When He rose from the grave, our sins did not. Therefore, sin and death were defeated once and for all. In Christ, all men and women have the opportunity to share in that salvation.

Praise God today for the gift of salvation, and thank Jesus for bearing the punishment for your sin.

Lord, when You accepted the cross, You accepted its humiliation. Let me never treat it as a vague symbol, but as a terrible place where You went to save me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 114). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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