The Message of the Cross: Is it Still Relevant?


I once gave a gospel lecture in Zurich. Every time I went to the lecture hall in the convention center, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this cosmopolitan city. It is as if all the splendor of the world is spread out between the great sea and the green mountains. And the magnificent great hall in the beautiful convention center harmonizes with this great city.

But apparently all the beauty and all the riches of such a city cannot satiate the heart of man. That is why many people came streaming in to hear the gospel.

There I stood again at the podium one evening. I spoke about the cross of Jesus Christ at Calvary. I described how a large crowd had gathered there too; how all is quiet for a moment as the terrible hammer blows ring out; how suddenly a terrible roar erupts, as the cross rises over their heads. There He now hangs, the Son of God, covered in blood! The hands that blessed the children; that handed out bread for thousands; that touched blind eyes so that they would be opened! These hands are now gruesomely nailed to the cross. And all this for us!

At that moment I saw a couple of gentlemen smirking. They stood at the edge of the hall. Their faces twisted into a sneer, as if to say: "You must not come to the cosmopolitan city of Zurich with such a stale message!"

I looked into their smiles and their ridicule and knew I had to answer them now. So I stopped and asked, "Is there anyone in this room who would have the courage to say, 'I want and need no forgiveness of sins!?' I will pause for a quarter of a minute so you can answer the following question with a yes or a no: Do I want to live and die in the knowledge that I have no forgiveness of sins?"

All at once it became so deathly quiet in the hall that you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. The grins on the faces of these men had disappeared. Thoughtfully they looked down.

I continued: "A sea of sin stretches out before the eyes of God. We are all tangibly involved. And now God responds to this. How does He respond? Not, as one might expect, with wrath and judgment. No, in such a way that He gives His Son and erects a cross so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!"

An American once wrote a book entitled: The Miracle of Unbelief. How right he was! How unbelievably hard and calloused the heart of man must be to not fall on his knees before the cross of Jesus and seize the grace that is offered!

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