Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Power of the Cross

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"To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities" (Act 3:26).

As Christians, we strive and struggle every day to overcome the desires and lusts of the flesh, but without Christ and the Holy Spirit in us the temptations of the world will be too powerful for us. Therefore we must fill our hearts with the spiritual virtues that come from God and the power of the cross.

God knew that Satan is more powerful than us and he will not stop until he destroys mankind. God could not let that happened, so He sent His only son to unite us with Him through resurrection.

During Jesus Christ's life on earth, He did three miracles in which He rose up dead bodies. These miracles carry significant meaning in the life of the believers as sinners as they demonstrate the stages of sin;

1. The Hidden Sin
In Matthew 9, there was a girl that died but was still at home. Her father, a ruler, came and worshiped Jesus Christ and said to Him "My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live"(Mathew 9:18). When Jesus came into the ruler's house He said to them; "Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping"(Mathew 9:24). Then He went and took her by the hand and the girl arose.

This miracle is an example of a sin that is still in its early stages. At this point, there are two choices. We should get rid of our bad thought right away and not dwell on it, or we consider it then it will become a sin.

2. The Sin that Appeared on the Surface
In Luke 7, there was a widow's son who died and was carried out of his home. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. Jesus Christ had compassion on her so "He came and touched the open coffin… and said to him; 'Young man, I say to you arise' and he who was dead sat up and began to speak" (Luke 7:14-15).

This miracle is an example of a sin that has been committed. We have already felt the sin and experienced it and therefore it is harder to ignore and overcome.

3. The Sin that Becomes a Bad Habit
In John 11, Lazarus dies and is buried. While Lazarus was sick his sisters Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus Christ to come. However, by the time Jesus came Lazarus was already dead and buried. Jesus came to the tomb and said take away the stone and after He prayed to the Father, "He cried with a loud voice 'Lazarus, come forth' and he who had died came out" (John 11:43-44).

This miracle is an example of a sin that has become an addiction. At this point, it is hardest to let go and get rid of because it has become part of daily life.

Is it Difficult to Ask God for Forgiveness?

When we commit any kind of sin we end up:

  • Damaging our relationship with God
  • Separating our self from God
  • Trapped in difficult habits to break
  • Disappointing God, ourselves and others

In order to seek forgiveness we need to take responsibility for our choices, recognize that we failed, and be truthful with ourselves. Only then can we come before God and ask Him for forgiveness. God will see our heart and forgive us accordingly.

Jesus Christ is telling us that we should not despair or lose hope. He has given us the power to have a new life through His resurrection. He is our spiritual healer and He can turn our sadness into joy.

Jesus Christ wants to teach us that despite how hard it is to fight and get rid of the sin, we should persevere. He will forgive us our sins, even if we are in our last stage of burial and we already stink, if we confess our sins and come to him with a repentant heart.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

In this passage Jesus Christ teaches us that as believers, our prayers are very important in our spiritual life and the lives of others. If we pray for each other and ask for the intercession of the Saints, God can perform miracles through us; even allow us to raise the dead. Therefore, if someone is in deep trouble, we as loving and concerned believers can pray for him andeHH cry to the Lord to save his soul from imminent death. For example, the Lord allowed Peter to perform miracles and gave him the power to heal the lame man in Acts 3 and raises Dorcas from death at Joppa in Acts 9.

Also, the paralytic man in Luke chapter 5 was healed because of the dedication of his friends. They did all they could to let him meet Jesus Christ. They went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tilling and placed him the midst of the crowd. And when Jesus Christ saw their faith, He said to him "Man, your sins are forgiven you." The paralytic man in this story symbolizes every Christian who is not able to see God's love and blessing. All that they can see are dark clouds that consume their life. However, through the prayers of others they will be able to see the beauty that is behind the clouds and invite hope and love from above to come and fill them.

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 4:26).

Satan is always waiting and eager to have a hold on us, and God will let him test us sometimes because:

  • We are far away from God and He wants to bring us back
  • He wants to make us strong and remind us that we cannot do anything without Him
  • He wants to show us His power and give us blessings

God teaches us through faith that He can turn any evil that Satan will inflict on us into blessing. If we run to our Father when we are in despair and let Him lead and protect us, He will listen to our cry and help us with His power and wisdom.

May the Lord Jesus Christ protect all His children and lead them to do the right things in front of Him, so they can have a chance to be with Him and the Father in heaven for eternity.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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