In a new series CHIP K of thebandwithnonametakes a look at one of the central tenets of Christianity, the cross.

Chip Kendall
Chip Kendall

COULD someone please tell me how the heck an instrument of torture has become so familiar to us? I mean, since when do we walk past a building with a steeple and an electric chair on top and not think anything of it? Ever worn a gold or silver chain around your neck with a tiny guillotine hanging from it? How about a trendy tattoo of a gas chamber down the side of your arm? (Any Goths who might be reading with me here.) So why do we treat the cross the way we do?

Sometimes it's easy to forget the depth and the mystery of what Jesus did 2,000 years ago, when his body hugged the old rugged. So I'd like to give you some different mental pictures of what truly went down that lonely night in Jerusalem, 33 AD. Try this one:

Imagine a young soldier named Joe. Joe is one of those extremely good soldiers who does everything "by the book". In fact, he's such a good soldier that the other guys in his platoon are constantly trying to catch Joe off guard, you know, doing something just a little bit wrong. But they can't. Soon, they conspire to trap him into acting slightly naughty. But no matter how hard they try, he simply won't budge. This makes him extremely unpopular. It's not long before Joe has to put up with all sorts of abuse. First shouts from the lads, then name-calling, then blatant lies. Eventually, they even start playing dangerous tricks on him. All because Joe chooses to do what's right.

Now imagine that Joe and his "mates" are drafted into war. Within days, they find themselves stationed deep in the trenches on the front lines of one of the fiercest battles yet. One freezing cold, terror-filled night, the unthinkable happens. As the sound of whizzing bullets fills the air above them, a live grenade is thrown directly into the trench where Joe and the others have drawn up their positions. Time stands still. Everyone sees it, but no one moves a muscle. That is, no one except for Joe. Before a nervous drop of sweat can even begin to form on his dusty forehead, he springs into action. Without hesitation, knowing the consequences, he immediately throws his own body on top of the small bomb. In a matter of seconds the grenade explodes, killing Joe and leaving the others completely unharmed. Their unpopular victim became their heroic saviour.

Those fateful few seconds will haunt them the rest of their lives.

"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
(Romans 5:7-8) CR

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