Friday, April 18, 2014

A Tale of Three Crosses

My precious husband wrote this poem several years ago and it is so fitting this Good Friday. I pray that you reflect on the Savior and His love for you.

A Tale of Three Crosses
Not every tale that is told is make-believe,
Some tales that are told are true.
This Tale of Three Crosses is one that is real,
A tale that I now share with you.

Three crosses hung on the hillside that day,
Suspended between earth and sky.
Three instruments of death with common design,
A place upon which men would die.

Two crosses bore criminals, defiant and desperate,
Deserving of death soon approaching,
One cries for mercy, begging for life,
The other, to the end, still reproaching.

Strangely calm is the Man on the Cross in the center,
As if His life was meant for this time.
Enduring the pain with graceful resolve,
Displaying a peace so sublime.

We find ourselves on one of these crosses,
Our stories thereon are told.
Which cross is yours, which cross is mine?
Decide from this tale of old.

For on these crosses our natures are shown,
Upon them our destinies sealed.
A Tale of Three Crosses will show us ourselves,
Our futures they will reveal.

The Cross of Defiance, a fist if not nailed,
Would be raised to the heavens in anger:
“You’re the reason, O God, my life is a mess,
You’re the reason my soul’s now in danger!”

“If you really cared, I would not be here,
My life slowly ebbing away,
Things would have been different, my destiny changed,
But now it all ends today.”

“And if this man in the Center is truly your Son,
Then why is He hanging here too?
If you are the Christ, then save You and me both,
Come on! Let’s see what You can do!”

The crowd joins in the rancorous revolt,
Mocking and sneering at Christ,
“Oh, King of the Jews, if You be so great
Then why not save Your own life?”

“If You be the One who came to save others,
Then why can Yourself You not save?
Come down from the Cross, Oh Chosen of God,
Come down, spare us all from the grave!”

The Cross of Defiance is the Cross of the world,
The cross upon which many hang.
It is the cross of rejection, the cross of rebellion,
The cross of self-induced pain.

It is the cross of the person who will not admit wrong,
The one who refuses all blame,
The cross of the proud, the cross of the damned,
The cross of the one with no shame.

It is the cross of the one whose faith rests in self,
The cross of the unbending knee,
The one who spurns salvation from God,
Confirming his doomed destiny.

Is that cross, your cross, O Sinner today?
Is his the cross that you choose?
Are the criminal’s words, your words,
A Savior, you defiantly refuse?

Then rest assured that your end, your eternal fate,
Will be the same as that man’s.
The blood of the Son, the dear Lamb of God,
Will be blood that is on your hands.

Another cross hangs on the other side of the Lord,
The cross of one not nearly so bold.
Here hangs one who realizes, perhaps too late,
That his life is beyond his control.

The Cross of Despair is the cross of this man,
He’s aware of what lies ahead.
He has little doubt about the fate of his soul
In the imminent realm of the dead.

He knows that in life he rebelled against God,
Choosing instead his own way.
His cross is a fitting conclusion
To a life that’s been wasted, astray.

“My sin-filled life has led me here,
No mercy should I expect.
I’ve lived my life in darkness and shame,
Most I have done, I regret.”

“What I don’t understand is why this Other
Is crucified along with us two.
What is it He’s done that could ever deserve
A death so terribly cruel?”

He knows that he and the other one there,
Have earned whatever they get.
Yet this One called the Christ has done nothing but good,
His life has done nothing but bless.

Here hung between two criminals true,
Is One who is free from all wrong.
No stain on His life has ever been found,
No evil has He ever done.

How can the crowd so defiantly rail
Against One as perfect as He?
“Do they not realize who it is that they kill,
Can they not see what I see?”

He turns as well to the Cross in the center,
But unlike the man filled with hate,
He spews no words of bitter rebuke,
He prays that his plea’s not too late.

“Lord, I know that no claim to Your mercy, have I.
I’ve no right to You even to speak.
But if You would know my heart and hear my voice
There is only one thing that I seek.”

“I do not ask to be saved from this death I have earned,
I can make no promises stand,
All I ask for is mercy, forgiveness and grace,
These all I ask from Your hand.”

“When on the day that Your Kingdom comes,
For I know that at last it shall be.
I appeal to Your love as my only hope,
When You come , please remember me.”

Is that cross, your cross, O sinner today?
Do you fear for the judgment ahead?
Does your desperation grow as your life slips away?
Are you facing the future with dread?

Then turn to the Man on the Cross in the Center,
Follow the penitent thief,
Let your despair turn to hope, as you do what he did,
On the Savior place your belief.

Our tale’s almost finished, it’s almost complete,
This tale of great hope and deep woe,
But there remains one more cross, one more Person dying,
One more about which we must know.

Up to this point we each have a cross,
A cross of defiance or despair.
But the Cross of Deliverance is the Cross of the Christ,
He’s the Only One who can hang there.

From the dawn of time, rightness with God
Has been possible solely through blood.
A sacrifice, pure and spotless, required
If one wants to be good.

But good no one is except for the One
Who on the middle cross died.
Whose death brings salvation to saints and to sinners,
And all who upon Him rely.

His cross is the Cross of Justice,
Of sin receiving its due.
He bears in His soul and His body,
Punishment for me and for you.

His cross is the Cross of Love,
Of God displaying His heart.
The divine demonstration of why Jesus came,
For salvation to all impart.

His cross is the Cross of Grace,
Of forgiveness beyond expectation,
Mercy extended and cleansing from sin,
Freely offered to all of the nations.

His cross is the Cross of Hope,
Hope of Heaven and of life anew.
Hope that is given to all desperate sinners,
Hope that is offered to you.

These three men, like many before,
Lost their lives on their crosses that day,
Each man suffered, each man died,
And each was placed in a grave.

But the grave could not hold the Man in the Center,
A stone could not keep Him inside.
For the love of the Father and His promise to man,
Miraculously brought Him to life.

He conquered His cross and He conquered the grave,
To prove that He was who He claimed:
The Savior of sinners, the One Son of God,
The Name that’s above every name!

He will be crowned as King of All Kings,
This humble Man on the Cross in the Center.
Before Him we’ll bow and proclaim Him as Lord,
Into Heaven saved sinners shall enter!

We one day will gather with all the Redeemed
To praise the Father and Son.
We like that one who turned to the Christ
Will find that our victory’s been won!

Defiant or desperate, upon which cross do you hang?
Each can be saved, if you turn
To the Man who once hung on the Cross in the Center,
To the God who your salvation earned.

He bore the shame and the pain and the loss,
So that you and I would be spared.
Will you turn this day to the Man in the Center,
To the One who has Glory prepared?

Our tale is now finished, this Tale of Three Crosses,
Yet the ending I cannot share.
Each one’s ending depends entirely upon
What they do with the One who hung there.

Will your tale end with joy or conclude with regret,
With Heaven or Hell as your home?
It all hangs upon your decision this day,
To the Savior will you now come?

“Our Father, we have heard this day a tale unlike any other. We see ourselves on these crosses. We are often defiant, sometimes desperate, always needy. Give us the grace to turn to the Christ who endured His cross and arose victorious over the grave. May we live our lives in devotion to the One who died so that we may have life.”
In His name,
Copyrighted protected by author, Barry Jeffries

Mr. Wonderful blogs at A Sojourner's Life

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