The Rugged Cross
Dr. John K. Mathew
The trial and death of Jesus Christ revealed both the wicked heart of men and the gracious heart of God. When men were doing their worst, God was giving his best.
The Cross is the perfect finishing point of Jesus Christ in His act of atonement for the remission of human sin. The Cross is the exact point from which man begins his journey of a new life that will lead him to eternity. This can be further proven by Tim Lahaye's illustration in his book 'Why Believe in Jesus?'. Over a hundred years ago, a large symposium on religion was held in the city of Chicago. Seven hundred people crowded the pavilion to hear one of the most brilliant Hindu speakers in the world, Swami Vivekananda. He did not disappoint them, for he was magnificent as he laid out the philosophical facets of Hinduism, the religion of India, finishing to thunderous applause. He was followed by a famous Christian clergyman who, for some reason, chose not to present the philosophy of Christianity. Possibly he feared the simple story of the Son of God dying for the sins of a rebellious human race would pale by contrast to the beautiful ideals of Hinduism.
When the chairman announced that the next speaker chose not to speak, a thick silence hung over the pavilion. In desperation, the chairman asked if anyone would care to speak on behalf of Christianity. Suddenly, someone sitting in the back, a Chicago Sunday School teacher named Joseph Cook walked forward and said, "I would like to tell a story". Then he told Shakespeare's tale of Macbeth and how Lady Macbeth and her husband had connived to kill the king, after which her guilt drove her to the edge of madness. Finally, when she could no longer rid her hands of the blood guiltiness of her sin, she cried that famous line, "Out! Out, damned spot!"
Turning to Swami Vivekananda, Joseph Cook humbly asked, "Sir, what relief does Hinduism have to offer to Lady Macbeth to cleanse her sin?" The flustered Swami admitted that Hinduism had no means of forgiving sin. Joseph Cook then reached into his pocket for his New Testament and said, "I would like to show you Christianity's remedy for her sin". He read, "If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sins. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Then Cook explained how Christ died on the Cross for the sins of the whole world and invited those who had never done so to receive the Savior.