"Thy strong Word bespeaks us righteous; bright with Thine own holiness, Glorious now, we press toward glory, and our lives our hopes confess. Alleluia, alleluia! Praise to Thee who light dost send! Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia without end!
"From the cross Thy wisdom shining breaketh forth in conquering might; From the cross forever beameth all Thy bright redeeming light. Alleluia, alleluia! Praise to Thee who light dost send! Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia without end!"
The cross in history did not suggest "conquering might," at least not for the victim. Criminals were nailed up in public display as a warning to others who might be tempted to commit the same crime. Yet as our hymn proclaims, the wisdom of God breaks forth from a cross—the cross of Jesus—in conquering might.
It is not a plan that we would have imagined, this plan to bring salvation through a terrible death on a cross. We might have come up with a more spectacular plan, an attractive and glorious idea that would get everyone's attention. The crucifixion of Jesus did not suggest God's conquering might. God's own Son was conquered and crucified. In the eyes of the unbelieving world, the wisdom shining from the cross appears to be foolish, but God's ways are not our ways. The apostle Paul explains, "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" (1 Corinthians 1:18). The apostle continues, "It pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21b). What we preach is Christ crucified.
The Word of the cross is the Good News that Jesus was crucified as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world and rose in triumph over death. All who believe in Him have forgiveness for their sins and the gift of eternal life. It is good news that delivers what it promises. The Word of the cross is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16b). When God speaks, things happen and the powerful Gospel Word of the cross "bespeaks us righteous." The Word of the cross breaks forth in conquering might to declare us, "Not guilty!"
Glorious now in the sight of God, we are clothed in Jesus' righteousness and bright with His holiness. We press forward through our earthly lives toward the greater glory of life in God's presence forever. In word and deed, our lives confess the hope that is ours in Jesus, and we pray that others will come in the power of the Holy Spirit to believe the saving Word of the cross.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, help me in my words and actions to be a witness for You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Thy Strong Word," which is number 578 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you know someone whose life exhibits greatness though he or she is very humble?
2. What did Paul mean when he said, "It pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe"?
3. How is the cross of Christ a liberating reality for mankind? What took place there on our behalf?
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