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When I think of the cross, it has great meaning for me -- not only did Jesus become the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, for whoever would call upon Him -- but He gave his followers an example that works in the cruel world of wickedness. The very nature of what Jesus did was redemptive.

He knew that He must face the cross. In the Garden of Gethsemane He sweat great drops of blood as He prayed and pondered ", the necessity of the cross. He arose from prayer with the strength to meet the test -- to go to the cross, to die for the sins of the whole world, as many as would call on him.

It was sin and wickedness that desired his death. An evil plot, false witnesses, betrayal by a close follower, a weak ruler, all combined to bring Jesus to death. He did not fight them, He gave no resistance, He allowed evil to have its day. (The scripture tells us He could have called 10,000 angels to set Him free -- but He allowed evil to have its day.)

Did He hate his tormentors, did He desire vengeance against them? To the contrary, He died for their sin, too, if they would call upon him. His love was great for everyone that played a part in his own death. On the cross He prayed, "Father forgive them for 'hey know not what they do." He wanted them to find life full of meaning as well as everyone else.

In using the experience of Jesus as a backdrop, we can see several things that were accomplished by the cross. He accepted bondage that He might set people free. He surrendered to the wicked plot of Satan so that He could bring victory to all who would call upon him. He accepted oppression that those who called upon Him could be released from oppression. He accepted death to overcome the sting of death.

These are only a few of the redemptive meanings we draw from the cross. The example of Jesus is such that we can follow it and continue his redemptive work in the world in which we live.

Does someone hate you, you can love them in return. When someone hurts you, you can forgive them. When someone uses you just for their gain, you can pray for them. These are just some things you can do -- but you can't do these things alone. You need the strength and power of God that Christ will give, if you will open your heart to him. Give it a try, you can be a part of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on earth. God bless you.

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