The Reality of the Cross

By Mark D. Roberts

April 4, 2015

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:6-8

Today is Holy Saturday, the day between the cross and the resurrection of Christ. It’s a day of reflection and waiting. It’s a time to consider further the reality of the cross so as to prepare for the celebration of the resurrection.

I will never forget a humorous Holy Saturday conversation that happened between my children when they were young. My son, Nathan, who was six years old, offered to pray before dinner. He began, “Dear Jesus . . . .” Immediately, he was interrupted by my daughter, Kara, who was four at the time. “You can’t pray to Jesus,” she said in a determined voice. “Why not?” Nathan asked unhappily. “Because he’s dead!” proclaimed Kara. “You can’t pray to him until tomorrow!”

We can chuckle over Kara’s youthful literalism. We know that Christ really isn’t dead on today. His is fully alive, exalted and glorified, as far from dead as anyone could be. Yet, I must confess there is part of me that yearns for the childlike faith of my young daughter. I am so used to believing and celebrating the reality of Easter that I can neglect the reality of the cross. I can rejoice that Christ is risen without really considering how he took death upon himself, really dying so that I might live.

Holy Saturday invites us into deeper reflection upon what happened on Good Friday. On this day, we can set aside time to consider the meaning of the cross. Many biblical texts facilitate this kind of meditation. Romans 5:6-8, for example, reminds us that Christ died for us when we were both weak and ungodly. Through this unanticipated sacrifice God demonstrates his love for us. I expect that most of us know this. But, have we let this amazing truth fill our minds? Have we allowed it to permeate our hearts? Is God’s love for us in Christ the center of our identity, our being, our calling?

On this Holy Saturday, may the love of God in Christ, shown through the cross, touch and transform your life.


As you reflect upon the death of Christ, what difference does it make to you, really? How would your life be different if Christ had not died on the cross? How has the love of God touched your life? In what ways do you need to experience God’s love more deeply today?


When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. Amen.

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” by Isaac Watts, 1707.

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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