THE CROSS AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE
Message by Dr. Leslie Quarcoopome
Monday 26th April, 2018
It is not by chance that Jesus chose to die on a cross. Everything God did in His plan to redeem man, had a purpose; there was nothing that happened by chance. Last time we went through the crucifixion of Christ and what it meant and what it actually did for us to redeem us from the hand of the enemy.
In the beginning, satan attempted a rebellion in heaven to overthrow God and in that attempt, he managed to get some of the other angels to follow him. In their failure to overthrow God, they rather ended up being thrown down to hell which is actually here on earth as we see in Ephesians 4:9. We all know that when Jesus died, He went into hell and the scripture confirms that He went into the lower ranges of the earth, meaning hell is here on this earth. “Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things”.
For this reason, God created man and put him here on earth and not on any other planet; the reason was for man to keep the forces at bay and prevent them from being able to do what they want to do. Hence the instruction from God to man to “have dominion on earth and subdue it”. So, if hell is here on earth, then the dominion God gave to man, also extends to hell, so man was more or less a policeman God has placed on earth to ensure that the criminals, who are the principalities, powers and devils do not have a free range to misbehave. For every prisoner to have his freedom, he must make sure the policeman put in charge of him also falls foul of the law so he loses his dominion over him. Therefore, satan caused man to sin, losing the authority over the ‘prisoners’. God therefore came up with a plan to restore man to the place He intended for him from the beginning because after the fall, man was opened up to many other things. Man was exposed to curses right form the garden of Eden. The serpent had its own; cursed to crawl on its belly, the woman was also cursed to conceive and bare her children in pain. The man was also told that he would have to work hard and sweat before he can eat. So, the fall of man opened him up to a lot of things that were not in the original plan of God. Sickness came in, death and other evil things came in and on top of that, satan now has free range to operate since ‘the policeman had lost his uniform’.
God sat down and said, I will not allow this to go on forever so He put together a plan to ensure that man was restored to his original position. This plan was very well calculated. Everything done in the plan had a meaning and a significance. Everything that happened before Jesus went to the cross had a meaning and a significance. Everything Jesus said on the cross had a meaning and a significance. Everything that happened after His death on the cross also had a meaning and a significance. For instance, at a point in time on the cross, Jesus shouted, “My father, my father, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Someone would think He was just agonising pain, but there was a significance to it.
The reason why the father had to abandon Him was because, for one to be spiritually dead, there must be a separation between you and God as a result of sin, and for anyone to enter hell, he must die spiritually first (sin separates you from God) and also die physically (a separation between the body and the spirit). The whole plan was to enter hell and confront satan, the principalities, powers and to collect the keys of death and hell from them. It was therefore necessary for a separation between the Father and Son on the cross. While on the cross, Jesus Christ was the single most sinful individual on earth, carrying the sins of old, present and yet to be committed. Due to this, there was a separation between Him and the Father and that is spiritual death. He also said “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” so He died physically to get access into hell to defeat the devil. Everything had a meaning and there is a reason why it was chosen that He would die on the cross and not by any other means. There was also a reason why He had to bleed before dying. In this message, we shall deal with why He had to die on the cross.
Deuteronomy 21:23 – His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.
The scripture confirms that anybody who hangs on a tree is cursed. In the earlier statements, I mentioned that, one of the things that the fall of man opened him up to was curses.
Let’s take a look at Galatians 3:10-13 – For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
So, it was for the purpose of dealing with curses that Jesus had to hang on a tree with the idea that, by Him hanging on the tree, He takes up our curses upon Himself. Here, one may ask “what are curses?” A curse is a solemn utterance, writing or action which invokes supernatural power to invoke harm or punishment on someone or something. The fall of man opened him up to curses of varied kinds:
- Curses that come from God Himself (e.g. in the garden of Eden)
- Curses that come as a result of acts of disobedience: Certain actions automatically activate curses in our lives.
The only solution to the curses upon our lives is the cross. By His death on the cross, He is able to take the curses upon Himself. God gave man the law to obey. A lot of people think of the law only as the 10 commandments, but these are just a few out of the 613 laws that God gave to the Jews, most of which were impossible to keep and the reading from Galatians 3:10-13 states that whoever is unable to keep the laws as a Code of Conduct is cursed. A look at some of the laws makes me wonder how they were able to live in those days. There is one in Leviticus that prohibits the shaving of the sides of the hair. A woman in her menstrual period was also not permitted to come out of the house and a woman bleeding was not supposed to touch anything lest it becomes unclean. Another law says you cannot wear clothes that was sewn with two different cloths. If not for the cross, many of us would not survive. We needed the cross to come and intercede for us. A walk through the laws would tell you that, those people of old really suffered.
With the coming of the cross, the idea is that, whatever curse is supposed to come to you is absorbed by the Lord Jesus so we can freely cut the sides of our hair and sew dresses with different materials. The law was difficult for man, bringing curses upon them.
Let’s read from Deuteronomy 28:15-26 –
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed [shalt] thou [be] in the city, and cursed [shalt] thou [be] in the field. Cursed [shall be] thy basket and thy store. Cursed [shall be] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed [shalt] thou [be] when thou comest in, and cursed [shalt] thou [be] when thou goest out. The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until He has consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that [is] over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee [shall be] iron. The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcass shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray [them] away.
All these are, but not even up to half of the curses that comes upon man for failure to uphold the law. Man really suffered in those days and there was therefore the need for a sacrifice that would take up all these curses upon Himself. The interesting thing about this one that takes up the sacrifice upon itself was that, it didn’t just take up curses from the past and present but also for the future. So, the cross of Jesus is the solution to any curse that is about to come upon your life. The fact that Jesus Christ has come and died does not mean that curses do not still happen. People still curse, others still indulge in acts that attract curses but the good thing is that we now have a solution.
Proverbs 26:2-3 – As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
The above scripture indicates that, a curse that has no cause, shall not stand. It also means there are curses which have foundation and reasons why they must work. Certain acts automatically expose us to curses without anyone opening his mouth to curse.
Deuteronomy 27:14-26 – And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, Cursed [be] the man that maketh [any] graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth [it] in [a] secret [place]. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen…
However, there are still some curses from Old which still stand in the New Testament. The fact that Jesus has died and taken away the curses of the law doesn’t mean that certain things in the law do not still apply. For instance, the 10 Commandments states “Do not commit adultery… Do not bear false witness”; this is still found in the New Testament even after the cross (eg. Ananias and Saphira lied and died) So, don’t get it wrong at all that the death of Jesus does not mean the things of the Old Testament don’t still apply.
The law can be divided into three (3):
- The Moral law: this has to do with morality (eg. do not commit adultery and the 10 Commandments)
- The Civil law and
- Ceremonial law
The Civil and Ceremonial laws include things like “do not shave the sides of the hair, do not make dresses with 2 different materials” ect)
Jesus’ death abolished the Civil and Ceremonial laws but further enforced the Moral laws and all the rules that apply to them. For example, in the Old Testament, committing adultery means sleeping with a man or woman but in the New, even a mere look at the person lustfully, you have already committed the adultery. Another is killing of man with sword or any other method in the Old Testament but now, “if you hate your brother, you are a murderer”. A lot of things that applied in the Old, still hold today and engaging in them still attract the curses attached to them but the fact still remains that the solution is in the finished work on the cross.
Deuteronomy 27:14-26 – …Cursed [be] he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that confirmeth not [all] the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
When a piece of land is allocated to you and you decide to remove the boundary and push it into your next neighbour’s land to steal part of his, Bible says a curse will come upon you. This is an issue of morality so it still holds. Those without pity for the vulnerable are also not exempt from the curses. It may sound strange but people have sexual relations with all sorts of animals in these days, all of which are curses. Armed robbers who take up weapons to steal and kill people for their property are also all under the curse. I have personally met a young man, who was part of a gang of armed robbers that robbed and murdered, and later faced mysterious deaths one after the other: one drowned in a very shallow water, the other was hit by a car tyre from a moving vehicle and the other, sitting in a kiosk was run down by an articulated truck. The last one developed a cancer on his face, disfiguring him completely. After confessing, he pleaded to be led to go and beg for forgiveness from the man they robbed. As we sit now, he is dead. So, these things still apply; there are certain acts that attract curses when we engage in them.
Dishonour to parents is another act that attracts curses upon ourselves. It doesn’t matter if the parent didn’t take care of you, is a drunk or never paid your school fees. By virtue of the fact that he is your father or mother he has a certain kind of authority over you. If you do not honour him or her, you bring a curse upon your life. The only solution to the reversal of these curses is for us to plug into the finished work of Jesus on the cross. As I mentioned earlier, there are curses that come from God Himself and there are those that come as a result of acts of disobedience.
Now, there are also curses which are self-imposed. Bible says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”. When you speak good things, angels can pick them up and make them good unto you. In the same way if you speak evil, there are demons ready to take those words and use them against you. A lot of times, as a result of frustration, bitterness or something, we end up cursing ourselves. In some situations, some people will confess “I am tired of living”, “this thing will kill me oo”. So, we open our mouths to say things and end up cursing ourselves. There are few examples in the Bible.
Jacob went to live and work for his father-in-law, Laban for many years and at a point decided to leave with his wife and children and his property. Rachel, his wife, took one of the father’s household gods and Laban followed, caught up with them and searched their camp to look for who stole the god. This is what Jacob said “The one who did this will die”. He didn’t know he had actually uttered a curse. The next time Rachel was about to have a child, she died. Another example is David who slept with Bathsheba. When confronted by the Prophet, he was told a parable of a man who had a lot of sheep but went ahead to take from another man who had only one lamb. David, unaware he was the one being spoken of, open his mouth and said “the one who did this must die and so lose four of his own lambs”. He cursed himself there and then. After getting to know he was the man in question, he prayed for forgiveness and God overlooked the aspect of him dying but for losing the child, that came to pass. He had also said “the person shall lose four lambs” all of which came to pass: the first one was the son of Bathsheba, then Absalom, Anon and then Adonijah. There are ways we curse ourselves and limit our own destinies.
Simon Peter is another example. When Jesus was about to be killed, he denied Him (Jesus) three times so the matter was ended. So, in Mark 16:7 – But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
Peter had used his own mouth to take himself out of the disciples by denying the Lord three times so he was not mentioned as part of His disciples in the above text. When Jesus met with him again, He gave Peter the chance to undo the three things he said to deny the Lord. Jesus therefore asked Peter the same question three times “Peter, do you love me…, then feed my flock…”; by this, he negated the things he had said and that gave him the chance to be reinstated as a disciple.
There may be things we have said that are limiting us in certain ways. Sometimes, we meet people who call us “man of God” then we jokingly say “I’m not a man of God”. Another calls you “rich man” but you respond “I’m no rich man”. Henceforth, begin to accept these confessions. Don’t limit your own future by the words that you speak.
Now the significance of the cross is for the breaking of curses, and the reversal of these curses. When we pray against and break curses, what we do basically is to take it from us and put it on Christ.
- Repent from the many things we do or say that bring curses upon our lives.
- We must reverse the negative things we have said with our tongue that have brought us under curses.
- Then finally, let’s confess the blessings of Christ upon ourselves.
These things do not have to be complicated. It’s all about plugging into the finished work on the cross. Since Jesus took every curse and placed them upon Himself on the cross, we are placing every curse that we have imposed on ourselves unto Jesus Christ and nailing it to the cross. May our curses be nailed to the cross, and anything that is serving as a source of stagnation in the name of Jesus.