1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
I have been preaching out in the open for over thirty years. Whether it is in Cuba, Bulgaria, Russia, France, some open-air market in the US or on some college campus, I have not ever been threatened with any violence when I just preach with an open Bible. But there is one thing that I can add to my open-air preaching that will almost guarantee violent and caustic responses from people who pass by. If I add a cross to my venue I can almost always anticipate someone will say some very obscene things about me.
Take away the cross from the open air venue and the obscenities disappear. Why such hostility toward a cross, two pieces of wood at right angles? It is the cross the reveals the true nature of our hearts before God. It is the cross that tells us that we are vile creatures condemned to an eternal death. O, but wonder of wonders, it is also the cross that points us to the love of our Father who made a way for us to escape eternal judgment.
The cross reminds the sinful man of God’s judgment on his soul. The cross speaks of death and destruction due to man’s rebellion. The cross informs us that our sin is far more dreadful than we think. The cross is what reveals the heart of God toward sin and this is precisely what causes such response from those who pass by and see the cross. The tragedy is that most pass by and only see the judgment for their sin, They do not see the love of the Father that paid for their sin through the willing sacrifice of his Son in our place.
The Cross; it is either an instrument of death or an instrument of deliverance, you choose.