The Center Cross

Keith Knight

"Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him.  Finally, they came to a place called The Skull.  All three were crucified there- Jesus on THE CENTER CROSS, and the two criminals on either side.  Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.”   Luke 23:32-34

Frank Silecchia was the ironworker in New York City who found "America's Healing Cross" at Ground Zero on September 13, 2001.  After helping recover three bodies, Silecchia noticed what he called "Calvary."  When Tower One collapsed on World Trade Center Building 6, it created a unique valley bordered by the mounds of contorted debris.  One writer called it a "new-millennium translation of the valley of the shadow of death."  He was overwhelmed by the dim view of a perfectly symmetrical cross standing upright in the middle of that providential space.  He quickly became the guardian of the cross and took numerous people there for comfort and hope.  His faith compelled him to remind people that the cross was God's way of saying, "I never left you... I've been here all along." 

When Barbara Walters arrived with two of her family members who had lost a son there, she pointedly asked, "How could you tell me God's here?"  Frank led her through the debris to “Calvary.”  She then responded, "I need a picture of that."  Frank wanted the cross saved for the entire world to see.  He said, "I want everybody to have it just as Christ wanted everyone to have salvation."   On reflecting back to the first time he actually touched the crossbeams of steel, Frank said, "I felt the power of the cross.  Not just THIS cross, but THE CROSS."  He stated, "Terrorism is the devil's tool; the cross is our tool.  And I don't think, I know, we'll win." 

As we reflect back on the horrific events that took place over 12 years ago, it is natural for us to question why this happened.  What good could come from this catastrophic event?  Why did God allow this event to happen?  Shock, anger and fear gripped us as we tried to understand the attack and the magnitude of death.  Looking back, I remember the exact time and exact place when I heard the news as it unfolded. 

I’m sure the same questions and emotions that flooded our minds were similar to the people that lived over 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ bore the sins of the world on the center cross.  Why did God allow this event to happen?  Why death?  Jesus was stripped nearly naked, the crowd watched, and the leaders laughed and scoffed (v.35).  The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine (v.36).   Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”  And with those words, he breathed his last (v.46).  Jesus was executed.  It appeared to the people that the Messiah had obviously lost his kingdom, but Jesus turned the world’s wisdom upside down.  A paradigm shift had taken place on that monumental day.  Jesus’ death and resurrection would strike the final blow to Satan’s rule and establish His eternal authority.  Jesus could have saved Himself, but He endured the suffering because of His unconditional love for us.  Why death?  So that believers in Christ could have everlasting life!!!

As we approach Easter this year, I encourage you to reflect on Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice…dying on the Center Cross to pay for the sins of the world…so that as followers of Jesus Christ, we can have eternal life!!!


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