Relevant. The word seems to appear everywhere. But what does it mean? Glad you asked. Relevant is defined as “something important to the matter at hand.”
Relevant explains why you buy certain products over others. It explains why you vote for certain politicians over others. Ultimately, you believe these products and politicians add something important to your life and culture.
Relevant products change lives. They inform current issues. They speak into the problems at hand.
So, here is the question I want to tackle: “Is the cross relevant?”
I argue the answer is absolutely. The cross has messages that answer the current struggles. And I want to highlight a few of the messages.
If you are a Christian, I pray these messages deepen your passion for Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus, I pray these messages spark something in your heart.
Here are 6 relevant messages that resonate from the cross.
1.) Stop being anxious. Stop trying so hard. You can’t do it.
In a world where you are an outlier if you don’t struggle with anxiety, depression, or worry, the cross screams to every person that the work is done. Stop relying on your own abilities. Stop trying so hard. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast our anxieties (and its close cousins, depression, fear, and worry) on Jesus.
The task is large. The future is unclear. The expectations are weighty. And the cross says these claims are correct.
But the cross doesn’t stop there. It also says there is a God who knows you can’t do it. There is a God who knows the weight is too heavy. And there is a Savior who begs you to take your worries, anxieties, and fears, and throw them on Him. You can’t earn salvation. You can’t control the future. And this is the great message of the cross. You can’t…but God can.
So much time and energy is spent controlling unknowns when there is a God who knows everything. He sees your future. And for those in Christ, this is a promise: God works everything together for good (Romans 8:28). Everything. Not some things. Not most things. Everything.
“What is going to happen to me? Are my children going to make the right decisions? Which school do I choose? Do I marry this person?” Questions filled with unknown find their answer at the cross. And the answer is Jesus.
At the cross, God sacrificed his son so we could be adopted as children. And as adopted children, we inherit every promise from God. He knows the future. He molds everything together for good. Trust God. Trust the cross.
2.) Life is filled with broken relationships. But God’s love is unconditional.
Our lives are filled with broken relationships and empty promises. Many people come out of the womb without someone to love them. We are created to express love and experience love. And when love is missing, a huge black hole appears…a black hole of pain.
More than one person during my time in ministry has made a statement similar to this one: “If you really knew me, you wouldn’t love me anymore.” Translation: if you saw my struggles and weaknesses, your capacity to love me would disappear. Life teaches us this is true. Human love has conditions.
But the cross sends a different message.
The cross says God knows all your weaknesses, vulnerabilities, sins, and struggles…and he loves you more than human words can describe regardless.
How do I know this? John 3:16. The verse made famous by Tim Tebow (only joking…kind of). “God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him would not perish, but have eternal life.”
The cross is the culmination of John 3:16. The cross is proof God loves you despite your weaknesses. The cross is proof God’s love is unconditional.
No level of wickedness can destroy God’s love for you. No character trait can alter it. No weakness can hinder it.
Can you be vulnerable? Can anybody love you? Regardless of the message the world sends you, God says, “Yes!” And the proof of this is the cross.
3.) You have skeletons in the closet. But the cross erases the past.
Skeletons in the closet. We all have them. Some skeletons are larger than others, and some closets contain more skeletons than others. But we all have skeletons.
And the skeletons rarely stay in the closet. Like a young child scared of the boogeyman, these skeletons haunt us. They remind us that we aren’t good enough. We aren’t capable enough.
But these statements aren’t from skeletons. They are from Satan. And the great promise of the cross comes in the final words from Jesus before he gave up his life: “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
What is finished? Satan is finished. His lies are finished. And our past is finished. You see, the world won’t forget your past. If you commit a crime, you will suffer the consequences.
But when Jesus used his final breath to declare, “It is finished!” he meant it. When you put your faith in Jesus, he doesn’t just forget about your past…he erases it. Completely gone. Praise God!
Any word that doesn’t scream, “Freedom!” isn’t from God. Anxiety. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Bitterness. These have no power over those in Christ. Don’t listen to a defeated enemy. He is finished. Don’t listen to your past. It is erased.
4.) You are facing difficult times. God empathizes.
I remember hearing the words, “You have cancer.” Talk about someone breaking off a piece of reality and whacking you across the face. You know who isn’t supposed to have cancer? A perfectly healthy 25 year old.
That declaration awakened me to the reality many are experiencing as they read this…life is hard. Many have dealt with the death of a loved one, a miscarriage, debilitating depression, a failed marriage, and everything in between. Some of you are in the storm right now. You are hurting. Your soul is weak. Your heart is broken.
What does the cross say to the pain and brokenness in the world? It says God empathizes. He feels your pain because he experienced your pain. This reality separates God from every other god in the religious world.
God came down to earth. Allow that to sink in. The God of the universe became one of us. And then he suffered, experienced rejection, and died an excruciating death.
God is the Empathizer. When you walk through darkness or experience a storm remember there is a God who looks at you and says, “I know what it’s like on earth. And you’re not alone.”
5.) Do you have a purpose? The cross gives us a mission larger than ourselves.
At the age of 30, after three Super Bowl rings and insane popularity, Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, made a statement that would shock most: “Me, I think there has to be more than this.”
Really, Tom? You are on top of the world. You reached the pinnacle.
And maybe that is his point.
“What is my purpose?” This is the million dollar question for so many. Money doesn’t seem to do it. Neither does popularity or fame. Take it from a man who reached the pinnacle. There must be more.
And the cross says there is more. You see, the death of Jesus on the cross re-defines your purpose on earth. When you put your faith in Jesus, his mission becomes your purpose (Matt. 28:18-20). Jobs become callings. School campuses become mission fields. Money is used to administer justice for the hurting and oppressed.
This purpose is larger than you. It requires selflessness and sacrifice. The very traits Jesus exhibited as he gave his life on the cross pave the road to meaning and life.
6.) The world is full of evil. God is more powerful.
Turn on the news, and the message is clear: the world is out of control. Darkness and evil are everywhere. This message is absolutely true. But it shouldn’t come as breaking news to those who trust in Jesus. The world is evil. It is Satan’s kingdom. This is why Jesus came to rescue us from this world (Gal. 1:4).
The cross says no evil force has dominion over God. What groups like I.S.I.S. and Boko Haram are doing is evil and incomprehensible. Yes, they are powerful. The news we see about them is awful.
But they aren’t more powerful than God. And, at some point, their time will end. One day they will bow, and they will confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil. 2:11).
You see, God knows a thing or two about news. Christianity is the only movement created and sustained by news. So, CNN or Fox News might be the sources for breaking news today. But God is the originator of news. And God’s news is good news.
Don’t allow the current sources of news to impact your life more than the eternal source of news.
The message of the cross is relevant. It has something important to say. And we need to listen. The world is consumed with darkness. We are living in an evil world. But greater is the power of God living in those who believe than the evil forces in the world.
Does the cross have a message I didn’t mention? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!