The Power of the Cross by Pat Cirrincione

As a child, Easter and its true meaning didn’t mean much to me, except that the Easter Bunny—a bit like Santa Claus—was not going to come to our house until I fell asleep. In the morning came the joy of looking for the Easter eggs that the bunny had hidden as my siblings and I were fast asleep, dreaming of Easter goodies.  We not only found eggs filled with colorful jelly beans, but also our very own beautiful Easter baskets filled with small gifts and the piece de resistance, a chocolate Easter bunny!

Lest we think the bunny and his basket were all-important, there was always the new Easter outfit. A new dress, new white shoes and a pretty Easter hat to wear and show off at church. Yes, it was all about showing off your new clothes and checking out what so and so was wearing.

Then I learned about the Cross.

It began with Jesus, born to a virgin named Mary. It continued with stories of his life as a son of a lowly carpenter named Joseph, his speaking in the synagogue at age 12; then to the wedding feast at Cana when he turned water into the best wine. It became even more extraordinary when he was baptized in the Jordan River by his cousin John, and began his three-year ministry of proclaiming the gospel and his Father’s message of love.  And it all ended with his crucifixion.

For me, no longer was Easter all about a bunny, but a lamb, who would be sacrificed for our sins. The Passion’s principle player was Jesus. I had no idea, not being raised in a Christian household. I never understood the power of the cross.

Hebrews 13:11 speaks of the Levitical sin and guilt offerings; of a lamb without blemish. John 19:17 shows us that Jesus loved his Father, and us, through the agony of rejection, torture and disgrace. He bore our sins on the cross to save us from the penalty we deserve. It showed that we are infinitely valued and loved, and that the main ending point is not death, it is love. That Jesus laid down his life to rescue us from sin and the wrath of God. Jesus came to be killed because he loves you and me. His dying showed his magnitude to us, and made his name clear to all. He suffered for our freedom.

So, what is your primary God given duty? If Jesus stood before Pilate and the religious leaders today would you be one that shouted for his crucifixion? Whom would you follow? The way, the truth and the life, or would you be as weak as Pilate and give him over to die?

When I first heard the song, “The Power of the Cross,” it made me—and still makes me—want to crumble to my knees because Christ became sin for us.

Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day. Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then nailed to a cross of wood.
This the power of the cross. Christ became sin for us.
Took the blame, bore the wrath. We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain written on Your face, bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Every bitter thought, every evil deed crowning your blood-stained brow.
This the power of the cross. Christ became sin for us.
Took the blame, bore the wrath. We stand forgiven at the cross.

Now the day-light flees, now the ground beneath quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life.
“FINISHED!” the victory cry.
This the power of the cross. Christ became sin for us.
Took the blame, bore the wrath. We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see my name written in the wounds, for through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death, life is mine to live, won through Your selfless love!
This the power of the cross. Son of God, slain for us.

Again, I wonder what is our primary end in life? To be caught up in the Easter Bunny parade of self, or in Jesus, the Passion Lamb. The victory cry of “it is finished” is victory for all believers, and he alone should be exalted above all else. This the power of the Cross.