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.
Yesterday, I visited an elderly gentleman in his eighties. He is a sweet, gentle soul. He walks with a rather stiff, shuffling gait, moving slowly and steadily to each appointed destination. During our visit, he told me that he had just returned from ceramic’s class. I asked about his ceramics, and he proceeded to show me a few of his finished products. The items were lovely. He has just completed a fleur de les, but he has made several light houses, different animals and reptiles, and an especially detailed alligator. He took pleasure in telling me about each item, and explained the process of ceramics. We had a nice visit. Towards the end of our visit, he spoke of his belief in God. We shared a common bond, and that fact pleased him. Before I left, he waddled over to a beautiful old chifforobe, and he pulled out a bright green, shiny ceramic cross that he had made. He said that he wanted me to have it. I naturally told him that I could not take it, but he insisted. He said that he wanted me to keep it to remember him. I graciously accepted the ceramic cross gift, and he grinned from ear to ear. He told me that this cross (pictured here) is an Irish cross. He said there are so many different types of crosses, and many different cultures have crosses which range from very simplistic to extremely elegant. He said that he thinks this is because every culture needs to know God and know Christ in their own way. The conversation excited him, and he then said, “Come with me.” This sweet, elderly man who is stiff from arthritis, and merely getting up and down is a huge chore, waddled throughout his entire home taking me from cross to cross. He has at least one cross in every room, and every cross was a little different. He explained the significance of each one in great detail. After the tour was complete, I held my new bright green ceramic cross close to my chest, and I said, “I will hang this cross on my wall, and every time I look at it, I will remember you, and I will remember the meaning of the cross.” His eyes lit up, and his face glowed with gladness.
I told him that I would remember him, and I definitely will. The moments are etched in the cobwebs of my brain. There are so many people that we come in contact with on a daily basis who just want to share a little piece of themselves with us so that we can remember them. Just think of the memories that you have stored away from past encounters and experiences. We have fond memories of our grandparents and parents. We may hear a word, smell a scent, or even listen to an old song, and those memories flood our very core. People want to be remembered. God gave us the beautiful gift of being able to hold these valuable memories in the vaults of our minds.
We definitely want to remember people. We want to remember loved ones. But, we most importantly need to remember the cross! Yes, there are many versions replicated of the cross. The styles may very, but the underlying message is the same. 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 (John 3:16). Jesus was born fully man and fully God as prophesied over 700 years prior, and He came for one reason. God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. He came to die for us to save us! He was crucified on a cross made from trees. It wasn’t elaborately designed. The cross wasn’t beautiful. He was nailed to that cross made of trees, and He died an agonizing death after being beaten and bruised for OUR sins. That cross wasn’t beautiful at all, but it symbolizes the greatest gift that we could ever receive. For when He died on that cross and was resurrected three days later as promised and foretold, the gift of eternal salvation was given to you and to me. All we have to do is accept the gift. We have to accept with our whole heart and our whole mind that God loves us so much that He gave His Son to save us. If we only accept the gift, believe that He did this for us, and confess our sins, we receive the gift of eternal salvation. This gift is totally free for you and for me, but consider the cost.
Yes, I will hang this cross on my wall, and I will remember the sweet gentleman who gifted it to me. But more than that, I will look upon this lovely cross and remember that old tree. I will remember what it cost my Savior to save an old wretch like me. How about you? Do you remember the cross? Have you accepted the greatest gift ever?