A Devotion for Good Friday, 2 April 2021 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
The Crux of the Matter
“Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”
(Gospel of St. John 8:56: all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (Gospel of St. John 3:14-15)
I have included in this devotion some remarks I made in the year 2009 concerning the Crux of the Matter. I feel it vitally important that each believer is aware that the Cross of Christ was the very Crux of eternity dividing all into the BEFORE and AFTER. It was the fulfillment of all the prophecies and Law of the Old Testament.
Christ was lifted up at Calvary for us just as the serpent of the wilderness was lifted up as a healing balm to the Children of Israel. All who were bitten by the fiery viper could look to the brazen serpent of Moses and be saved. Our own fiery Viper (Satan) has a deadly sting, and we all have been stung, none being without sin. But Christ was lifted up for us to behold. He was separated from the world in the hour of His death. His Cross symbolizes a separation of our Lord from the world and its sin and error; but it also represents a separation of all who believe from those same world considerations that keep the children of men in hard bondage. If we would be free from the bondage of sin and the world, look to the cross. Our Lord bore our sins there and saved us, under the terms of the Law, by suffering our penalty. Our Lord died suspended between Heaven and earth.
The Lord, even in this horrific time of suffering, remembered the names of each of His elect – their names graven into the palms of His hands. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:15-16)
CRUX is the Latin word for cross. Its major beam pointing to Heaven and its lesser beam the panorama of the world. The English language is much influenced, in its derivation of words, by the Latin. For example: excruciating is our English word for severe pain whose intensity is so great that it is incomprehensible. It is made up of two Latin derivatives: Ex, or ‘from’, or ‘out of’; and Crux, or ‘cross’. When joined together, the combined meaning is “pain as from the cross”.
The word crux in English means the “essential point, or deciding factor. For all of humanity , the Cross of Christ is the great point of decision for all time and eternity. It is the most profound event that has ever occurred, or will ever occur, in the history of the world. The world calendar year is even based on that monumental event of the crucifixion – i.e., BEFORE CHRIST, and AFTER HIS COMING. (B.C. & A.D.)
Let us go on a journey in time – a journey of the imagination. Remember back to a time preceding your own birth, further back to the great Reformation, back still further to the time of Christ…. Continue back in time to the days of Abraham, Noah, Adam . . . . back still further when the world was ” without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Back even further to a point in time when there was not even this formless mass we call Earth…back to a point in Eternity Past when there was only God. This is a point in Eternity where there was only the Powers of Heaven to comprehend all of reality – a point during which the Triune God and His great Heaven existed apart and alone from all that we know as Time. “. . . for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” (Gospel of St. John 17:24)
The Great Father God determined in His omniscient Wisdom that He would create a world whose canopy would be the starry expanse of celestial lights and beauty. And in that world, He would place the crowning achievement of His creative genius – Man. The imperative that Man would need a Savior did not escape the foreknowledge of this Creator God. “But with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot: 20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” (1 Peter 1:19-20)
The Cross of Christ was ordained of God the Father to be the CRUX of all time and eternity – an epochal event of utmost cataclysmic proportion. The single event which divided, not only earthly time, but the timeless scale of Eternity into two divisions: before and after. It is so crucial to the history of the earth that we base all our calendar calculations on the periods Before Christ (B.C.) and after His dominion (A.D. or Anno Domini). All the righteous of the centuries preceding this great event looked forward to His coming; and all believing peoples of our day look back in the Hope and Sure knowledge of that great event which enabled us to approach the Throne of Grace through His shed blood at Calvary.
But the great Redemptive act of Christ would have profited us nothing except that the events of that first Easter morning should have transpired. Though others, such as Enoch and Elijah, were translated directly to God, and still others awakened from the deep sleep of death, yet no man had ever risen by force of His own Word from the eternal sleep of death; yet Christ rose, “according to the scriptures” on the third day following these events.
The Saints of ages past yearned, in their graves, to see this great event – an event that would free them from eternal darkness and arouse them from the depth of their sleep to the eternal life assured them, and all others, who were in Christ. On that first Easter morning, Christ defeated death and Hell for us and thereby made it possible for us, the elect of God, to have everlasting Life in Christ. Being in Him, we too shall arise from the power of death to eternal life. For He it is who paid our sin penalty and reconciled us to the Father. He has become our Ark of Hope in these latter days so that, just as surely as the Ark of Noah was lifted up above the turbid waters of the Flood, so may each of us be lifted above the ruin and damnation which will surely come upon the earth to those who do not believe. It was the events of Easter morning, two thousand years ago, which enabled us to enjoy eternal Life in Christ.
My friends – brothers and sisters – are you and your loved ones securely aboard the Ark of Christ? This is the most pressing matter in your conscious life upon this earth. Please, without delay, make your salvation sure in Christ this moment while the great door of the Ark is open and you are being invited to board. – in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen