During ‘Holy Week’, most of our kababayans would use this time to remember what Jesus did on the cross. Most would feel compelled to do religious acts like going to distant churches on foot, praying lofty prayers, and some would even go to the extreme of crucifying themselves. Some do this to make amends for their sins, clearing the guilt that is in their hearts. Others do some of these religious acts as “panata”- a promise to God in return for a favor.
But would all of these religious acts make us holy and clean? What does being ‘holy’ mean anyway?
Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules and traditions they have been taught.
I believe that most people who do religious acts and rituals are sincere and that they want to love God. But the amazing thing about our God is that He was the one who made a way to reach us. He already paid it full. The debt is paid. He is actually hurting to see us hurting ourselves. We don’t need to hurt ourselves, or crucify ourselves literally – Jesus already did it for us.
The sad fact is that after this holy week, most of us would go to our old ways unchanged by the truth and power of the cross. What a tragic thing it would be if we just know the story of the cross, yet fail to understand and experience the power of it.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
So what is the message of the cross that makes it powerful?
1. The cross says that all of us have sinned and all of us deserve the punishment of death- eternal separation from God. Without the shedding of the blood there is no forgiveness of sin. (Romans 3:23, Hebrews 9:22)
2. The cross says that God loves you so much and that he is willing to take the punishment that we deserve by becoming man and laying upon him all our iniquities, so that we can be forgiven. (Isaiah 53:5)
3. The cross says that your debt has been paid in full. (John 19:30, Revelation 5:4,9)
4. The cross says that you are holy and clean because of the blood that covered your sin. (1 John 1:7)
5. The cross says that you are no longer under a curse. You are now blessed. (Galatians 3:13)
6. The cross says that by his wounds, we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
7. The cross says that you are free from the power of sin, and now have the power to live a life that would honor God. (Romans 7:7, Romans 8:2)
8. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus says that death has been defeated and you can now have eternal life in Him. (Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 15:57, Revelation 1:18)
9. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is shouting a message that we now have HOPE! And that we can start anew. We have a chance of truly living and not just existing. We can have a RIGHT START. (Romans 5:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17)
10. The cross says that we don’t have to do ‘holy’ and religious acts to be holy.. But because of the death and the resurrection of Jesus, we Become ‘holy’ – set apart for God’s purpose. And because we are ‘holy’, we naturally would do acts that would honor God. (1Peter 2:9, 1Peter 1:16)
I know there is more to this list, but this blog would be long if I write all of it. But the end result of the power of the cross is a changed life. This loving kindness, unconditional and powerful love displayed on the cross leads us to repentance.
My prayer is that after the holy week, we can experience the power of the cross resulting to a life that shouts glory and honor to his name.
Read my other blog entitled “It is done!”