Triumph of the Holy Cross

Holy Cross | September 14, 2021

Numbers 21:4b-9 and Psalm 98:1-5 • 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 • John 3:13-17

John 3:13-17 | New Living Translation

13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Today is a day known in differing ways, however, I like the title Triumph of the Holy Cross. Typically we focus on the cross during Lent and we focus on the crucifixion. However this day focuses on the cross as an instrument of salvation.

That thought is picked up in our Gospel reading for today. John compares the pole that was lifted up in the wilderness to save the Hebrew people from their sin. If you don’t remember the story. The Hebrews were grumbling in the wilderness. To punish the people, God sent fiery serpents and people started dying. God gave a solution to Moses to fashion a snake on a pole – those who looked at the pole would be healed.

That pole that Moses fashioned looks very similar to the image to the right which is used in the medical field. It is called a Caduceus.

John records Jesus as saying that the cross will be a symbol and when look at the symbol of the cross, they will see it as a symbol of salvation. The cross itself cannot save humans, but Jesus himself who hung on the cross can save us. Today the cross reminds us of the sacrifice of Jesus. It reminds us of God’s love. I’ve written before that I wear a cross on occasion. It’s not that the cross that I wear can save me, but that Jesus, through His love and sacrifice on the cross is the only way to salvation. It was through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection that we can have eternal life – just as Jesus promised. After all, Jesus came into the world not to judge us but to save us. That’s why we can call it the Triumph of the Cross.


Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the Cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory
everlasting. Amen.

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