By Al Behel
“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross.” These words have been sung for over a hundred years in churches around the world. Cities and churches have erected crosses to symbolize the suffering and death of our Savior, and many believers wear cross-shaped jewelry to proclaim faith in the risen Lord.
That “Old Rugged Cross” is the object of affection for all faithful Christians. The postle Paul expressed his love for the cross by saying, “God forbid
that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14). The cross is the center of our faith and the hope of our salvation.
That cross is “rugged”. It is not polished gold or silver. It is ugly and bloody. It is rough and contemptible. There is nothing beautiful about it’s physical appearance. The cross was a place where criminals died. The One who made Mount Calvary would come down and die there. On a wooden cross made from a tree he had created.
What does that rugged cross mean to you? Does it make a difference in your daily thoughts and actions? Does it alter your conversations? Does it cause you to look at relationships differently? Do you cling to that old cross? Does it still have a wondrous “attraction” to you?
I love that old cross, so despised by the world. It tells me that God loves you and me. It tells me that the Lamb of God left the glories of heaven to bear our sins on dark Calvary. That fact alone gives that old rugged cross a wondrous attraction to me, because on that cross Jesus suffered and died to “pardon and sanctify me.”
That cross tells us how wretched our sin is and how hopelessly lost we are without it. It tells us how a loving God came and died an innocent death on a cross that should have been for us.
The power of that cross today is in the hearts of believers, not on top of church buildings or mountain sides. It’s beauty transforms us and fills us with awe and gratitude for His infinite love and grace. That “Old Rugged Cross” is still our greatest hope.