18th MESSIANIC SYMBOL for the Advent Season: Cross

DECEMBER 18: Isaiah 43:25

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more (NIV)

At Christmas we do not often think about the cross—a symbol of death and the end of life. We prefer to think about the new life represented by Jesus as a baby. But the whole point of Jesus becoming one of us with a body like ours that would someday die, was for Him to give up His life in order to forgive our sins. The Bible tells us that every single one of us has sinned: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We may think that we are pretty good and have not done anything really bad. However, whenever we choose our way instead of God’s way, we sin. The good news is that God promised to “blot out” our sins. This verse says that God will not even remember that our sins were there!

When the people of Isaiah’s time heard these words, they did not know how God would forgive their sins. He had told them to take animals to the temple to sacrifice to ask God’s forgiveness for their sins. But just shedding an animal’s blood once was not enough. They had to keep returning with more animals. And though they did not understand it at the time, it was not really the blood of the animals that wiped away their sins. The animal blood was only a symbol of what Jesus would do to get rid of their sins in the future.

The Bible tells us that the penalty for sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus came to earth to die on the cross to pay that penalty for us. The cross symbolizes forgiveness. If you have told Jesus that you are sorry for your sins and have asked Him to forgive you, the cross is a reminder of the forgiveness God has given you through His Son. It is a symbol that you have been made right with God.

The birth of Jesus is very good news. But His death on the cross is the reason He came. Christmas without the cross would be empty. The cross provides hope for both this life and the life to come.

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)

Thank God for sending His Son to die on the cross so that your sins could be forgiven.

Ask God to continue to blot out your sins and to protect you from yielding to temptation and committing new sins.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, who for our redemption was born, and on the cross died the most shameful of deaths, do by your death and passion deliver us from all sins and penalties and by your holy Cross bring us, miserable sinners, to that place where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Pope Innocent III (1161-1216)

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