But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." John 12:32
As presented on *The Lutheran Hour® by Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, April 15, 1962.
The hymn writer Isaac Watts celebrated the central symbol of our faith in his well-known hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” This is the cross of Christ, not a replica of wood or stone encased in gold, but the [one] on which “the Prince of Glory died.”
The cross struck horror into the hearts of millions in the ancient world, just as the twisted cross of the Nazi swastika or the hammer and sickle of communism were meant to strike terror into the modern world. No one gloried in the cross until the Prince of Glory was elevated upon it. Then the cross became for the first time the “wondrous cross,” the sight of which can turn a man’s life inside out. The dying Prince of Glory made it so.
Christ was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification. The Crucified is not dead. He lives! And faith is not in vain. As He is true and real, as His wondrous cross was true and real, as the open tomb is true and real, so true and real is faith that trusts in Him.
At the cross, life meets death, and only life remains for those who pin their hopes on Him. Fear is turned into faith, and hatred of God and man transformed into love. All this comes from the Savior Christ who speaks to you today: The whole realm of nature is Mine. I gave it all up for you. For you I died. For you I live.
Join your heart to this answer of Isaac Watts’ faith: Were the whole realm of nature mine/ That were a tribute far too small/ Love so amazing, so divine/ demands my soul, my life, my all. Amen.
Taken from A Message of Hope: Proclaiming the Cross (selections from messages broadcast on *The Lutheran Hour, celebrating 75 years of proclaiming the promise).
Copyright © 2006 by Lutheran Hour Ministries
*The Lutheran Hour is the longest-running Christian radio broadcast in the world. It is a production of Lutheran Hour Ministries. For more information, visit www.lutheranhour.org.
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