The Cross Was an Ugly Torture Device

by Terry Wane Benton

That is true, but men meant evil, while God used it for our good. How can a torture device be made for our good and bless us with forgiveness of sins? It is not the device itself, as if the physical item holds some mystical magic. It is the event of what happened via the cross. Indeed, God used man’s death device to bring about good for the people (spiritual life).

Similarly, think back to Genesis, where Jacob’s son, Joseph, was sold into Egypt by his jealous and hateful brothers. God used Joseph’s brother’s hatred and evil against Joseph to bring about a greater good: the salvation of nations from famine. “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). Had Joseph not gone through the suffering, he would not have been raised to the position that saved others. His suffering was how God brought about a greater good.

The cross of crucifixion is a death device, but it is also a means by which God would combine His love for us, His justice against sin, and His mercy for our eternal good. The purpose of evil is turned into a means of our pardon. “The chastisement for our peace” (Isaiah 53). “He was bruised for our iniquities.” He went there to provide payment for our sins. That may be “foolish for those who are perishing” (I Corinthians 1:18), but to us it is a display of love-commitment to our good, and thus the power to move us to see it in a better way, a way that draws us to Himself (John 12:32). The Jews and Romans meant it for evil, but God meant it for our good, and therein is the wisdom of God and the power of God to those who view it correctly.

The tree upon which Jesus yielded Himself was the opposite of what we saw in the Garden of Eden, where sin and death spread to mankind. In the Garden, we saw a beautiful and appealing tree that was forbidden because it would spread death, while the tree on which Jesus died was the opposite. In the garden where Jesus suffered and died, we see an ugly tree of death, and if we partake of this tree, it will yield life, beauty, and hope. The first tree appeals to the fleshly appetites, and the second tree appeals to the spirit. The first tree was beautiful and appealing but gave a death sentence, while the second tree was ugly and repulsive but gave a remedy, a pardon with peace and hope. The second tree answers the need. The first tree revealed the need for pardon and reconciliation. That which seemed full of life in Eden was full of death, and that which seemed full of death in Mariah (Jerusalem) was full of life-giving reconciliation with God. We glory in the cross of Christ, for there is where I find pardon, reconciliation with God, and hope for a wonderful future. This is where we begin to see the wisdom and power of God. The evil done to Joseph resulted in the feeding of multitudes of life-giving physical bread. The evil done to Jesus resulted in the feeding of souls with eternal life-giving spiritual bread. Indeed, they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.

You are invited to eat of this second tree to truly live. Take a closer look at the second tree, the cross of Jesus! What do you see? I hope you can truly see!

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