"Take It Down "
July 22, 2017
1 Corinthians 1:23-24 - But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Some years ago, the pastor of a North Carolina Catholic Church placed an array of Lenten crosses on the front lawn of his little congregation.
It wasn't long before he received a call from the Chamber of Commerce. He was told, "Look Father, we're getting complaints about those crosses in your churchyard. When they are inside the church nobody cares, but out front, where everybody can see them, those crosses are offensive. The retired people don't like them; they find them depressing. The tourists probably won't like your display either. It'll be bad for business. People come down here to get happy, not depressed. Father, speaking for many in the community, we would all very much like to see those crosses be put away, so they no longer offend."
For any number of reasons, the world doesn't want anyone to hear about the cross of Christ.
For one reason, the Lord wants His Good News to be shared. The reason we need to speak of the cross is because it was God's method which saves sinners. That's you. It's me. Actually, it's everybody. Jesus was born to save sinners. He suffered for sinners. He died on the cross for sinners. He rose for sinners. And now the risen Redeemer sends His Holy Spirit to rescue sinners.
And you, my friend, are a sinner.
To which you may reply, "That's good news?"
And I say, oh, yes. It is the best news you will ever hear. It's Good News because the message of the empty cross and tomb says that we are going to be made well.
It's just that simple. God has a cure for what ails you. It is a cure that will change your life.
• Have you been searching for something you can rely on? The love of Jesus -- His presence, His concern, His care, His power -- will always be there (see Matthew 28:20).
• Have you been lonely? There is nowhere you can go where you can ever be separated from the love of God, which comes to you in Christ Jesus (see Romans 8:35-39).
• Have people let you down? Jesus Christ will always lift you up (see James 4:10).
• Has your life been a fiasco of falsity and foolishness? Jesus has come so you might have life, and have it to the full (see John 10:10).
With nail-pierced hands, Jesus reaches out to you. Along with forgiveness and salvation, He offers the peace that passes human understanding.(Philippians 4:7).
The cross is God's medicine that will wash your soul from every spot and stain. No matter what's gone wrong, no matter how bad a sinner you've been, by God's power -- through His Son -- you can be made well. This is God's Good News which says you no longer have to be what you were. It's God's Good News which says your cure can be complete. And that, my friends, like those crosses, is a message that should never be taken down.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may Your church proudly proclaim to a sinful world the salvation that only comes through the cross of Christ. If we boast, let us boast in what You have done to save us. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries