Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Victory of the Cross

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"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).

Some will look at the Cross as the cross of shame and disgrace. But true believers know that without the Cross we would not have a chance for redemption and salvation.

When I look at your cross, what do I see? A magnificent ending to a new beginning, I see two parts of life yet they are totally combined in one to give such a wonderful picture of God's amazing work.

First part is the true presentation of humanity that God wants to insert in all of us such as:

1. The love, the obedient, the submission to God's will
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came for many reasons. The ultimate one is in order to give us Salvation. During His short life among us, He was able to teach us about the will of God; which is how to love and submit to Him through any circumstances and in that, God will give us the strength and the power to overcome and rejoice and fill us with many blessings and grant us the life that will be full of peace.

We see that clearly in Matthew chapter 26 when Jesus was in a place called Gethsemane before He was arrested. He was asking His Father, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 16:39).

Why does God expect submission from all of us?

Without submission we will be full of pride and self-sufficiency, as a result, will not be able to discover God's plan for us and we cannot walk in His way to save our soul and the soul of others.

2. The love, the care, the forgiveness for others
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also demonstrated for us how our relationship with others should look like. Through His love and service to all, it was magnified completely on the cross when He asked the Father to forgive everyone who demonstrated any kind of rejection, falsely charge Him and unjustly accused Him and convicted Him, mocked Him, hurt Him, spat on Him...We see that clearly in Matthew chapter 26-27. During our Lord Jesus Christ's arrest until His death on the cross, He prayed in each step for their forgiveness even in the time of His great suffering on the cross when they divided His garments, casting lots, and mocking Him.

"Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.'" (Luke 23:34).

Why are the acts of forgiveness very important?

Through God's forgiveness many people are saved and became shining stars for others such as:

  • The Samaritan Woman in John 4 when she met with our lord and her life was completely directed to save others. "The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 'Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be Christ?'" (John 4:29).

  • The conversion of St. Paul on the way to Damascus when Jesus appeared to him in Acts 9. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. "Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' And he said, 'Who are You, Lord?' Then the Lord said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'" (Acts 9:4-5).

  • The thief on the right cross was a clear example of God's mercy and forgiveness; in one brief sentence he was able to show his true faith and he became the first one to enter paradise after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "Then he said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!' And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'" (Luke 23:42-43).

Also the care that Jesus Christ shown toward His mother when He was on the cross. Although He was in tremendous pain and suffering He never stopped thinking of others. "He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son!' Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother!' And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home" (John 19:26-27).

Second part is the divinity that came out of the heaven that allowed no separation from the Father and the Holy Spirit in order to give mankind the freedom of the original sin through baptism, to conquer death, to destroy the hand of Satan, and to give us a chance for a new life with our Holy God.

The last word on the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30), represented the joy from the victory over Satan and the opening of the gate in heaven to all who wishes to be part of God's plan.

How are we able to abide in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Our Lord came on earth in order to give us an eternal life. He was the only one who committed no sin. The sin of Adam did not affect Him because He was born through the Holy Spirit. He had the ability to become the lamb that was led to the slaughter and accepted this with great submission to the Father. He did not open His mouth. He had the divine power to capture Satan and tie him up.

"Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and power, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:12-15).

Therefore He glorified God on earth and became a pleasing sacrifice on behalf of all humanity in front of the throne of God. Then He declared who ever eats my body and drinks my blood will bound in Him and will have ever lasting life. An act of redemption that happens every time we eat His body and drink His blood in the form of bread and wine.

It is impossible to measure or comprehend the love and care of God to all of us, but it is a great joy to know how much God loves and cares for all of us and His wish to give us the best gift of living with Him forever in heaven.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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