Tomorrow, my wife and I will give our second daughter away in marriage to a great Christian young man. Yes, our hearts are full with a myriad of thoughts and emotions, but we are very happy for them. My prayer for Lacey and Will – and for all marriages – is that they will have a “Cross-Shaped” Marriage.
There were three nails that held Jesus’ body to the cross for our salvation. Actually it was His love that held him there. By dying on the cross for our sins, Jesus demonstrated the greatest love for you and for me. “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10 NIV).
The three nails of Jesus’ cross can stand for three principles that are included in a “Cross-Shaped” marriage.
The first nail stands for “Selflessness.” Jesus’ death on the cross was done out of complete selflessness. He willingly gave His life for us (John 10:17-18). Selfishness is the greatest enemy of a happy marriage. Jesus’ death on the cross demonstrates complete selflessness, which is crucial to a strong, happy marriage. Read Philippians 2:3-4.
The second nail stands for “Sacrifice.” Jesus gave His life for us on the cross. The Apostle Paul said, “[Jesus] loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice that atoned for our sins. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, wrote: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (5:25). This nail in Jesus’ cross should remind us of the sacrificial love that we are to have for one another.
The third nail stands for “Surrender.” Jesus surrendered His will to that of His heavenly Father. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39). It was the Father’s will that Jesus die on the cross for the sins of the world; there was no other way to save mankind. May this nail in Jesus’ cross always remind us that the greatest thing that a husband and wife can do for their marriage is for each of them to surrender his/her life to Christ. Then, as each one draws closer to Christ, the two will draw closer to one another.
When these principles that are reflected in the nails of Jesus’ cross are applied to a marriage, that marriage will be strong – exactly what God has intended for marriage.
Yet, these same principles are applicable to each one of us – whether we are married or not. The greatest life we can live – the abundant, God-blessed life – is a Cross-Shaped life filled with selflessness, sacrificial love, and surrender to the will of God.
God will save and give eternal life to those who surrender to His will: place your faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Then, continue to live surrendered lives, daily submitting to the will of God as revealed in His Word. As we walk in the light of His Word, the blood that Jesus shed on the cross will continue to cleanse your soul (1 John 1:7).
If you get married, may it be a Cross-Shaped Marriage. Whether you are married or not, may you live a Cross-Shaped Life. It will make an eternal difference.
-- David A. Sargent
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