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Ancient Words: Faces of the Cross, Face of Power

“Name Above All Names” was a topic we just concluded as we discussed the great power contained in the name of Jesus. Jesus in the flesh performed amazing miracles for the land of Judea to witness. With his departure, his “Name” was left for the early church to call upon and continue with this same power by and through his Spirit. Slowly the “cross” and surrounding events itself became more prominent in the dialogue of the early Christian population with the apostle appointed out of season leading the way in demonstrating the power of the cross: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1Co 1:17-18).”

We begin a new series of Bible study that will take us thru Easter entitled “Faces of the Cross.” Many are aware of the “Stations of the Cross” which speak of recorded events involving Jesus as he walked the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem carrying his cross to Golgotha. Jane and I have been blessed to walk this very street and observe these stations. This street has 14 marked signs or stations along the way describing the scenes or dialogue of Jesus as he walked the way of suffering towards his final death. “Faces of the Cross” will be a broader study taking into account the 28 scriptures (KJV-BRG) in the New Testament which actually illuminate to the reader the many “Faces” of the cross which develop and achieve the declaration by Paul— “but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way (Eph 1:17-23).”

God exerted this strength, his mighty strength, when he raised Christ from the dead. This powerful strength could only be seen because the instrument of the Roman cross, used at the insistence and demand of Christ’s Jewish brothers, was used to crucify him on a tree. This event immediately generated such power that the sun turned black, the earth split open, and bodies of the dead from centuries past came to life. Today, the cross has not lost its power! Man may tear down the visual cross of symbolism (and Satan will definitely share that idea) but the face of the cross remains as an eternal powerful fact of earth’s history that will never change and thru “Faces of the Cross” we can learn the fruits of this powerful force!

Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to brgbible@gmail.com.

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The Western Wall

Today I had the opportunity to visit the Western Wall or as it is most commonly known, the “Wailing Wall”. Before I left El Dorado, I took pictures of our staff, Advisory Board and our congregation and added a note for prayer of revival in our great city to place inside this sacred wall of prayer.

The Western Wall is a surviving remnant of the retaining wall that supported the Temple Mount, which was destroyed in 70 A.D. Now there are other parts of the wall that remain but the beloved Western Wall is a little more special because it is the spot closest to the Holy of Holies.

Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt nine times, and the Western Wall has remained intact. In Genesis 17:7 God establishes a covenant with Abraham that the Jewish people will never be destroyed. The Western Wall has become a symbol of God’s faithful promises endure. In a sense it has become a symbol of devastation and of hope.

For thousands of years, three times a day, Jewish prayers have been directed toward the Temple Mount. Those! outside of Israel should direct their prayers towards Israel.

Every year millions of Jews and pilgrims (tourists) of all faiths visit the Wall and offer prayers or place pictures, written prayers or praises within the cracks.

For many years it was called the Wailing Wall or “place of weeping” but in 1967 after the six day war, Israel regained control and it became a symbol of celebration!

Here’s the take away, yes God hears the cries of His people, and wants us to bring our concerns and cares to Him; but I’m sure He would also love for us share our prayers of celebration and gratefulness for His faithfulness as well!

See you in a few days! Shalom!

Captain Jason Perdieu is corps officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado.

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