#Article (Archive)

The Exaltation of The Cross

Sep 17, 2008, 5:47 AM | Article By: Augustine Kanjia

The Exaltation of the Cross-is celebrated as a feast in the Catholic Church. This is also known as The Holy Cross-, which is acclaimed as a symbol of hope and salvation for those who believe in it. The cross in those days was meant for the execution of hardened criminals, as in the case of the two criminals on the right and left of hand Christ Jesus. Today the Cross has remained a symbol of Christians' own suffering as Christ was nailed to the Cross, died and was raised after three days into Heaven, where He remained at the right hand of God. The hope of Christians was made possible and strengthened by the fact that Christ who came in the form of man remained humbler and allowing death even on the Cross. Augustine Kanjia finds out why it is a feast and what the Cross-of Christ has to offer to those who trust in it.

In 1st Corinthians 1: 23-24 it states; "We proclaim Christ- yes, Christ nailed to the Cross; and though it is a stumbling-block to Jews and folly to Greeks, yet to those who have heard his call, Jews and Greeks alike, he is the power of God and the wisdom of God." This Man Christ posed a problem to the Jews and early Christians by who He was. Christ being nailed to the Cross clearly manifested that it was a stumbling block to the Jews and Greeks. At the same time Jesus remained to many, especially those who listened to His clarion call to follow the right path, remained for them the power of God and the wisdom of God.

When on the Cross-Jesus Himself shouted in pain, "My God my God, why have you forsaken me?" This was not to be seen as a neglect on God's side of His own Son he sent to redeem the world but to tell the world that God leaves nature to take its course for the better or the worse. In one sense this should deepen our prayer life to enable man to be ready when the time comes knowing that nature is left to take its course. As if the pains of the nails in His Hands and Feet were not enough he was mounted on that cross for him to bleed to death, above all that he was also pierced on His side to ascertain that he was truly dead before being taken down for burial. The situation was really a symbol to Christians who were to see suffering as part of life and to take up their cross to follow Christ who had commanded His followers to take up their cross to follow Him. The Cross-in the sense represented the many tears, the many sufferings that are to be part of man's daily routine and to be able to endure to the end. The pains of life are many and for those who follow Christ strictly have found solace in His counseling and love. For others, especially who do not think of the Cross as a symbol of their salvation when faced with situations synonymous to the cross, they look for a short cut by going to "marabous" and other juju's for help. Thus confusing their belief in the Holy Cross-of Christ. There is a contrast between the Holy Cross that Jesus warned Christians to take up and the "marabou" who is said to help them out with their crosses of life. This disqualifies the Christian to humbly adore the Holy Cross.

In 1st Peter: 18-19, it states "Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold but in the precious blood of a lamb without stain, namely Christ. Useless way of life in this sense incorporates a lot, ranging from offences against God's laws. Christ paid for it al with His precious Blood by hanging on the Cross to die without reaction, not allowing His disciples to fight back for Him or His admirers but told Peter that "those who live by the sword die by the sword."

Christians should copy from Christ. They should be obedient and show practical love to enable them walk in Christ's footsteps. Hebrew Chapter 5 tells us that although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering but having been made perfect he became for all who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.

Philippians 2: 6-11 states that the state of Jesus was divine, yet He did not cling to His equality with God but emptied Himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are He was humbler yet even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave Him the name which is above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Cross-therefore should become a centre of focus for Christians because it stands as a symbol of our salvation from where Jesus was raised from death. He never remained on the Cross-or in the grave but was raised for all to see the power in the cross.

St. John's Gospel tells us that God sent his Son to heaven not to condemn the world, but so that through Him the world might be saved.