The Old Rugged Cross

Old Rugged Cross
more than a symbol, it is a true story of the greatest love we will ever know.  It is the story of the love of Jesus! The
depth of meaning is almost too deep to understand. God brought a precision of
events to bring us His Love.
We sing the hymn’s chorus that touches
our hearts: So, I’ll cherish the old
rugged cross, Til’ my trophies, I lay down. I’ll click to the old rugged cross.
 And exchange it some day for a crown
Cherish a cross? A piece of wood?  Today a cross often is a symbol, a tattoo, or
story. When Jesus was crucified, it was a cruel Roman means of execution of
criminals. We often communicate the intangible with a tangible symbol to make
it real, whether it is religious or secular. Some communicate by writing a
song, some make a sign to carry, and others build a life based on the teachings
of Jesus. 
George Bennard, born in Ohio in 1873,
lost his father, while he was a teenager. 
The responsibility for his family rested upon his shoulders. He became a
coal miner, following in his father’s footsteps.  Following his marriage, George became a
traveling Methodist preacher, serving in Canada and northern states.
Bennard’s favorite Bible verse came from John 3:16. For this is how God loved the
world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him
will not perish but have eternal life
.”  Did you rush through the reading of this verse?  What does it teach us?
much does God love the world?
did He give because of this great love?
did God give his Son?
do we find eternal life?
Each time George Bennard quoted or read
this one verse, he envisioned a cruel Roman instrument of death – a cross. This
death instrument was stained with the blood Jesus.  Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
George Bennard began writing lyrics as
he studied this one verse. The depth of meaning increased each time he read his
one verse of scripture. He prayed for understanding.
         Read all scripture as if you are there,
and it becomes it real in our hearts. Bennard learned as many have – Scripture
does not contain words to be read quickly, but pondered and studied. 2 Timothy
3:16 tells the purpose of scripture – All Scripture is inspired by God and is
useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our
lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
Bennard re-wrote again what he had written before, he sang it for his wife in
the kitchen. He sent it to his friend, Charles Gabriel. It was in 1913, this
song was sung in church, and two years later The Old Rugged Cross was published.
this moment, could you give five reasons that comes to your mind why Jesus was
called to die on the cross?  Would there
be another way for God to give eternal life? 
I John 4:8b tells us the very essence of God – God is love.  Because God
loves, He wants the very best for His Created Children – Eternal Life. We are
estranged from God without Jesus in our hearts. 
Jesus came to this earth to help us understand God’s Love, to take away
our sinfulness, and erase the enmity between people on the earth. (John Piper
wrote 25 reasons why).
         When Jesus left
this earth, He said,
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and
heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be
troubled or afraid.”

(John 14:27)
         The following scriptures underline the ‘Why’
of The Old Rugged Cross and Joy of
belonging to the Son of our God Almighty.
         John 3:17-18 – God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the
world through him.
 “There is no
judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in
him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
         John 17:2-4 – For you have given him
authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And
this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, the one you sent to earth. 
 I brought glory to you here on
earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
         1 Peter 1:18-19 – For you know that God paid a
ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And
it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 
 It was the precious blood of
Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
2:20 – My old self has been crucified
with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live
in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave
himself for me.
         Romans 5:8, 10 – But God showed his great
love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. For
since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were
still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

         Ephesians 2:14-16 – For
Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one
people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility
that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its
commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by
creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 
God sent his Son into the world not to judge the
world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against
anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already
been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

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