By Dennis Lee/Living Waters Fellowship

“The Wondrous Cross”

As I contemplate Easter and what’s coming, I began thinking about is just how wonderful and glorious the cross of Christ really is, given that the cross was the most horrific and torturous deaths ever been devised by humanity.

In fact, when we talk about something being excruciating, we are saying that the pain we are feeling is beyond what we can bear. The word was created to describe the intense anguish and pain caused by crucifixion. It literally means, “Out of the cross.” 

During this time of contemplation, I began singing a remix of the classic hymn by Isaac Watts, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” The remix is called “The Wonderful Cross.” The song was inspired by Galatian 6:14.

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

While preparing for a communion service in 1707, Watts wrote this deeply moving and very personal expression of gratitude for the amazing love revealed through Jesus’s death upon the cross. It actually was the first known hymn to be written in the first person, and introduced to congregational singing a personal religious experience rather than doctrine, which was the prevailing practice of that day.

 

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

By Isaac Watts

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

 

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God!

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to His blood.

 

See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

 

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

 

The hymn first appeared in print that same year in Watts’s collection, “Hymns and Spiritual Songs.” The hymn was originally titled “Crucifixion to the World by the Cross of Christ.” It was and still is considered one of the finest hymns ever written. Theologian Matthew Arnold called it one of the greatest hymns in the English language

But why is this hymn so beloved and stirs our hearts today as it did for Watts? It’s because there is no other message given to humanity that’s as important as the cross of Christ. It’s at the heart of the gospel message which conveys the only way a person can be saved, not only from the bondages of this world and our sinful desires, but through belief in what Jesus did upon the cross, eternity in heaven now waits.

It is the preaching of the cross, the preaching of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross that is at the very heart of the Christian gospel and message. And it is in the cross that Apostle Paul boasts and glories. It is the central theme of Christianity and the thing that matters the most above everything else.

The Apostle Paul found it necessary, however, to talk about the cross to the church even though he had already taught upon it, and that’s because there were false teachers that had come up from Jerusalem teaching something completely contrary to the Christian message.

The Apostle Paul says that what they were preaching wasn’t even on par with the gospel message of Jesus Christ; in fact, it wasn’t even good news. It was a different gospel, which was evil from the very get go. And so, Paul twice pronounced a curse upon those teaching anything other than the true gospel of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:6-10).

This is why Paul could say he wasn’t ashamed to tell the world the good news of Jesus Christ, because it is in the cross of Christ that the power of God’s love is revealed bringing salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16).  

And so, when we survey the wondrous cross, upon which Jesus, our prince of glory died, we’ll experience God’s amazing love for this world. 

 

Dennis Lee is the senior pastor of Living Waters Fellowship located at 211 West 1st South, behind ACE Hardware.

All services and teachings, including Sunday 6 p.m. service, are available on our YouTube Channel, “Mesquite NV Living Waters Fellowship.”

Pastor Lee also provides daily inspiration (Devotionals, Scripture and a Prayer, and Thoughts) on his Facebook page “ https://www.facebook.com/dennis.lee.3760/ ”

(All messages in the Church Directory are the opinion of the writer, who submits them as a columnist)