People stand in line to be nailed to a cross and crucified. That’s right. They think it will relieve them of their sins.
This occurs in Pampanga province of the Philippines during Holy Week. Actually each person only remains on the cross for a few minutes. There are so many requests to be a part of this ceremony that a person has to wait at least two years for a turn. It has been stated on national television, “Those who participate have their sins for the past year forgiven.”
I have been to the Philippines and witnessed similar ways in which people have ceremonies to beat their bodies to try to drive the sin out. Many people are severely injured. They think that their suffering will help their sins leave them.
The good news is that we don’t have to hang on a cross or have our bodies beaten. It is not some self flagellation, or punishment to our bodies, or offering some kind of animal or monetary sacrifice. It has already been done for us by Jesus Christ. The cross is the answer to the forgiveness of our sins. A great hymn says:
“Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.”
I also had a chance to go to Macao, which is a Portuguese providence on the border of China. It is known for its sinful vices. It is called the sin city of the world.
The interesting thing is that the highest point in Macao is a massive cathedral that has been destroyed, except for one wall. On the top of that high wall is a huge bronze cross. The highest point in Macao is the cross! While below there is so much that symbolizes sin – the answer to sin is still in that cross pointing to heaven.
John Bowring saw this cross in Macao and wrote the following great hymn that we sing:
“In the cross of Christ I glory,
Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.”
When Jesus lifted his voice from the cross and said, “It is finished,” it was not a statement that God’s plan had been defeated. Jesus knew that death was near and he also wanted to affirm that the last obstacle has now been hurdled and the last enemy destroyed. “It is finished,” announced that God had opened the doors of Heaven for everyone who would receive the forgiveness offered by His Son.
“I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There’s no other way but this;
I shall ne’er get sight of the Gates of Light,
If the way of the cross I miss.”
Jesus died for every person. We can’t earn the love and grace that He has shown to us. We can receive it. When we receive the gift of forgiveness offered in the cross on Good Friday, we celebrate with all the company of Heaven on Easter singing “He’s Alive.”
You can experience a win over sin today!