July 20, 2015
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us -- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree." Galatians 3:13
"Just'a good ole' boys, never meanin' no harm."
Those words, the opening lines from the theme music of the TV show, The Dukes of Hazzard, may soon be all that is left of that nostalgic program. I say that because the program is no longer being rerun on the TV Land channel. Although the authorities are not saying why The Dukes of Hazzard has been pulled, most of the fans agree it is because the Duke boy's car, the General Lee, has a Confederate flag painted on the roof.
More than that, golfer Bubba Watson announced he would modify the original TV car, which he owns, by painting over the Confederate flag, which has been there since 1978.
These changes and many others have been brought about because of this year's murders in Charleston, South Carolina. Because of the actions of one man, the symbol of that flag has been changed.
It's not the first time in history a symbol has been changed. I have seen the swastika in ancient churches and as decoration in Native American rugs, woven bowls, and pottery. But that symbol was changed by the inhuman actions of the Nazi's regime in World War II.
Oh, there is one other changed symbol which needs to be mentioned here: the cross.
The Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and modern day ISIS have used the cross as a particularly shocking, painful and embarrassing way to die. Indeed, in the Roman world crucifixion was so horrifying it was against the law to crucify any (Roman) citizen. Even the Scriptures reflect the terrible connotations of the cross when it says, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree."
Yet crucifixion is the way God's Son died to take away the world's sins.
And how did the world react to the news that Jesus had been crucified to save us? They responded in disbelief. It was simply unthinkable for God's Son to have died such an ignominious death. Paul acknowledged that position when he wrote to the church in Corinth: "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart'" (1 Corinthians 1:18-19).
There you have it. The symbol of the cross was changed by the sacrifice of the Savior. By God's grace, and through Jesus' resurrection victory, the hated symbol of death had been transformed and become the beloved symbol of forgiveness and eternal life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, "When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ, my God! All the vain things that harm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood. See, from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? 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." For the Savior's cross, I give thanks in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries