SERMON TITLE: “Meditations on the Cross: The Great High Priest”
SERMON TEXT: Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: March 27, 2022, at First UMC
So, over the past few weeks, have you been meditating on the cross? I know that’s what we’ve been doing here. But I’m wondering if, outside of church also, have you found yourself looking at a cross and thinking more about it? I hope so!
One of the people who has been worshiping with us over Facebook Live lives in Colorado. Alyce sent me a photo of a 5” cross that her niece gave her. The niece made the cross in a ceramics class. It’s quite fancy with lots of decorative features. I looked up the style of the cross online and discovered that it is a “Bottony Cross.” That’s not botany, like plants. It gets that “Bottony” name because of the three button-like knobs on the ends of the horizontal and vertical pieces of the cross. In keeping with the liturgical color for Lent, Alyce’s niece colored the Bottony cross purple.
As artistic crosses come in many decorative varieties, so do they symbolically represent a variety of understandings of what happened when Jesus died on the cross and how we believers receive salvation through his crucifixion. Just like artists interpret through clay, wood, paint, and a variety of other media—so do Christian theologians interpret through scriptures, songs, stories, academic articles, and devotional literature. Some of us even teach Sunday school lessons and preach sermons as ways to share our meditations on the cross.
So far in this Lenten sermon series, we’ve pondered what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote to the Corinthians that the weakness and foolishness of the cross had become the power and wisdom of God. Then we read from the Gospel of John that Jesus was lifted up high on the cross so that we might have life through the love of God. And, last Sunday, we reviewed what First Peter and some other scriptures have to say about Jesus, the Lamb of God who died on the cross, so that we might have freedom from sin. Our salvation through Jesus is so multi-faceted that no one image would ever be able to tell the whole story. But, fortunately for us, today’s scripture text from the Letter to the Hebrews adds yet another angle. This morning, I invite you to meditate on the cross with me through the prism of Jesus the Great High Priest.