On a Hill Far Away

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18 ESV).

As I write this (2018), it is Holy Week, early in the morning, and still dark. I’ve just returned from taking a short trip to view a cross on a hill far away. The cross was erected approximately 70 years ago and is maintained by a local electric utility. It stands 50 feet in height and is illuminated with over 100 bulbs. I parked my vehicle a mile or so away and gazed at the impressive site. I reflected, expressing my gratitude to our gracious and merciful God for the Cross, for God’s Lamb, for Christ’s voluntary offering of himself for the sins of the world, including mine.

Of course, the original Cross was quite different from the one I viewed this morning. It was much smaller, made of wood, bloody, and on it hung the God-Man—the crucified Christ who gave his life as a ransom for sinners.

There was nothing pretty about that first Cross on a hill far away: criminals were present, gamblers at its base, women were wailing, and fearful disciples stood at a distance. There were soldiers and mockers, deserters and deniers. What was beautiful was what took place on that middle Cross—the Just One dying for the unjust to bring us to God!

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.*

*George Bennard, 1873-1958; from “On a Hill Far Away”

This is a condensed version of what appears in WellSpring: 365 Devotional Readings by Ralph I. Tilley (Sellersburg, IN: LITS Books, 2018), March 31. Available in hardback, paperback, and Kindle at Amazon.