Wednesday, January 14, 2009

THE SACRED SACRIFICE ON THE HOLY CROSS

THE SACRED SACRIFICE ON THE HOLY CROSS

The Book of Genesis describes God's creation of the Garden of Eden. In the middle of the garden there were two trees. One was the tree of life whose fruit could give life or immortality. The other was the tree of knowledge (of good and evil) which brought death to man. Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit of this tree and this sin caused their 'Fall'. They were sent away from the paradise of pleasure. God posted an angel with a flaming sword to prevent them from returning to the garden and eating the fruit of the Tree of Life which could have made man immortal, but in a state of sin. God wanted to redeem man and promised the redeemer (Jesus) who would crush the head of Satan {Genesis 3:15} and make man eligible for everlasting life in a heaven of happiness.
The tree of life was a symbol of the Cross on which Christ was crucified for the redemption of man through His generous gift of everlasting life. Several legends and paintings illustrate this truth. One legend says that the original 'tree of life' got uprooted from Eden during the Flood and later landed near Jerusalem. It was used as a bridge across a stream. When Jesus was sentenced to be crucified, the Romans searched in haste for a wood to make His cross. The tree used as the bridge was cut into two and joined to make the cross of Christ. Several variants of this legend are popular. They suggest the life-giving role of the Cross by relating it to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden.
Other legends assume that Golgotha, 'the place of the skull' {Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, Luke 23:33, John 19:17}, where Jesus was crucified was the place where Adam's skull was buried. When the Cross was fixed to the ground, the skull was directly under the Cross. The sanctifying blood of Jesus directly dripped on Adam's skull and washed away his sins. This story signifies the redemption of Adam and his descendants who were waiting for centuries, for the sacred sacrifice of the Son of God on the Holy Cross. With his arms outstretched unto infinity, Jesus on the Cross embraced all humanity. Jesus taught us, "The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them" {John 15: 13}.
By: N.G.Philip, Bethel, Nalamchira, Thiruvananthapuram-695015, Kerala, India &
Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.
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