Thursday, July 31, 2003
It was September of 1999. A Cambodian pastor had made his way to a remote corner of his country to bring the story of Jesus to an area he had wanted to go to for years. But that area had been under the control of the brutal Khmer Rouge radicals until then. As far as anyone knew, this pastor was the first person to speak of Jesus in that isolated area where most people were Buddhists or spiritists. Surprisingly, as told in the book The God Who Hung on the Cross, when the pastor arrived in one village, the people welcomed him warmly and seemed to hang on every word of his messages. Then this old woman bowed and grabbed his hands and said, "We've been waiting for you for twenty years."
The story she then told explained what she meant. In their cruel march through Cambodia to destroy much of its infrastructure, the Khmer Rouge forces enslaved, killed, or otherwise caused the deaths of millions of Cambodians. When they reached this village, they forced everyone out of their huts and lined them up to dig a deep pit. The villagers realized they were digging their own mass grave. Anyone who tried to run or hide was shot on sight and dragged to the edge of the pit that was being dug. When the pit was finally finished, the soldiers ordered the people to turn and face the pit. As the people stood, helplessly awaiting their execution, they began to cry out in some desperate plea for help. Some screamed to Buddha, some to ancestors, to demon spirits, and some even for their mothers.
Then one woman, drawing on the distant memory of something her mother told her, began to cry out to one she called "the God who hung on the cross." Surely this one who had suffered so Himself might have compassion on those about to die. Soon, the screams around her became just one desperate wail - crying out to the God who hung on the cross. And then there was silence. As the people slowly turned, they realized the soldiers were gone. And ever since that day, they were, as the book says, "waiting for someone to come and tell them more. More about the God who hung on the cross."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "God's Wooden Magnet."
Jesus said in John 12:32, our word for today from the Word of God, "'But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.' He said this to show the kind of death He was going to die." Strip away all the Christianity, and all the rituals, and all the steeples, and all the creeds and you're down to what this is really the issue - the God who hung on the cross. Jesus, God's one and only Son, pouring out His life to absorb all the hell of all the sin of all the people who have ever lived. Including you.
God says that "whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13). Maybe that's something that you've never done. You've done Christianity - or maybe rejected Christianity - but you've never been to that cross and given yourself to the One who is your only hope of being forgiven, your only hope of heaven because He came back from the dead on Easter morning.
If you belong to Jesus, don't spend time telling people all about your church or even your beliefs. Tell them about Jesus. Take them to that cross where they can see how much He loves them. And if you don't belong to Jesus, will you, in your heart, just stand there at His cross for a moment and say, "Jesus, that was for me. You died for the junk I've done." Cry out to this God who hung on a cross for you and trust Him to save you, because only He can.
If that's what you want, I want to send you my booklet about this relationship called "Yours For Life" if you'll just let me know you want it. Jesus hung on a cross so your death sentence would be gone. God wants to know what you're going to do with His Son, after all His Son has done for you.