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The Significance of the Cross | Easter 2021

Easter weekend always represents a joyous period in most of our lives. Personally, I remember the thrill of having thousands of easter eggs to open and thousands more to find in the hunt as a youngster. Whilst as an adult, I look forward to the four-day bank holiday weekend as I seek to recharge my batteries in this everchanging work climate. But somewhere along the line, we’ve lost the real reason for the most important season in the Christian calendar.

I recently watched a sermon from the late R.C Sproul who spoke about how he always posed the same question to his Sunday School kids:

“Do you know what Christ did for you on the cross and why?”

It’s an important question to ask as many children can drift through Sunday school either disinterested with the scripture or taught a happy-go-lucky version of it. We tend to leave out the graphic details of the cross and resurrection and cover it up with child-friendly easter eggs and co.

Perhaps we do this to protect our children from the graphic nature of the cross. But this protection is far more detrimental than you might think!

Recently, I read the Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler. In the first chapter, Chandler describes a trip he had to a church where the youth testimonies seemed to follow a similar pattern:

“I have been to church since I was young. I didn’t understand the gospel. I left the church to experience the world. I felt empty and came back to truly understand who God was.”

Although it’s great that these young people came back to their faith, it does beg the question, why did these youths not understand the significance of Christ from an early age?

Chandler’s explanation? Kids aren’t being taught the explicit gospel. Instead, they’re being taught a watered-down version which positions them at the centre of their faith rather than God. Without saying it explicitly, some church leaders expect their youth (and other church members) to behave 100% of the time according to the will of God. The thought process goes as follows: “You’re a Christian. You should be better.” Such logic insinuates that we have the power to earn favour with God, which, when looked at in line with scripture can only be defined as heresy.

So let’s break this down further by applying two important pieces of scripture to our generic young person that leaves the church only to return after experiencing the world.

Picture the scene…

Our young person, let’s call him John, has been going to church all his life but not through his own volition.

He’s “always” just gone to church with his family. He’s been through Sunday school and the majority of his friends resides in church.

He’s taught that as a Christian he must love everyone he encounters, he must be a good person, and this is because someone called Christ died on a cross a long time ago for him and every believer.