Linger at the Cross

Keith Pate

Although in many ways it doesn’t seem like it, we are beginning the first day of Holy Week. Yesterday we celebrated Palm Sunday remembering Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Today begins the final week of Jesus’ ministry: the last supper with His disciples, His arrest, mock trial, beating and ultimate crucifixion. Then on Easter Sunday His glorious Resurrection!

Traditionally we celebrate “Maundy Thursday” this week. This service focuses our attention upon the last meeting Jesus has with His disciples in the upper room and looks toward His crucifixion on Good Friday. Typically, we partake of the Lord’s Supper as a corporate body and reflect upon the sacrifice Christ gave by paying our sin debt on the cross. Several years ago, our theme was “Linger at the Cross.” That is where my mind leads me today.

This week I pray each of us will “linger” at the cross; pondering with deep introspection the event that forever changed history. God the creator of the universe, the one we sang about on Palm Sunday in the beloved hymn How Great Thou Art, laid down His Kingly crown, lived as a man, taught us how to treat each other, healed, loved, forgave and gave up His very life to pay our sin debt. Jesus, perfect in every way, paid a price He did not owe for a species that did not deserve it so that we might have complete communion with Him.

There are multiple Scriptures that reveal this Good News! John 3:16, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, John 1:29, Acts 4:12 and more.

Romans 5:8 says:
But God demonstrated His love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This morning as I rode into the church, I was listening to 89.1. The guest was reminding us all of the importance of sharing our faith with our children. The individual stressed for him it was not as much about making sure every day they did family devotions together, but more about sharing with his family when God was moving in his heart. In everyday conversation drawing attention to how God provided for their needs, allowed them to enjoy a beautiful sunrise, taught him a truth from God’s Word, etc. The idea was to be genuine and allow your children to see you growing and seeking God’s guidance as you navigate this life, allowing His Word to permeate who we are and naturally expressing its application daily.

Deuteronomy 11:19 New International Version (NIV)
19Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

This reminded me of the hymn: Tell Me the Story of Jesus.It encapsulates the Gospel message.

Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels, in chorus, sang as they welcomed His birth.
“Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Fasting alone in the desert, tell of the days that are past;
How for our sins He was tempted, Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor, tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted, Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him, Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender, clearer than ever I see:
Stay, let me weep while you whisper, Love paid the ransom for me.

Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word:
Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.

SIN separates us from a Holy God! “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We have EARNED Death and separation. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) But God became flesh and paid a ransom for our sins. He paid the debt we could not pay. “…But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Christ paid OUR DEBT and offers us the GIFT of eternal life.

“Stay, let me weep while you whisper, Love paid the ransom for me.”
As we begin this week, Linger a while on the words of this song. Don’t rush through them. Read the Scriptures I listed earlier and the surrounding verses in each passage. Be reminded that this story is more than words on a page. This story brings Hope to a world that cannot save itself, a world longing for something it can’t quite put its finger on. Always searching but never finding. We have the answer. Tell the story!


Keith Pate About Keith Pate

Keith is originally from Castleberry, AL in Conecuh County. He joined Eastern Hills as Minister of Music in January of 2005 from Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine, FL.