Sir John Bowring, at one time governor of Hong Kong, was a very gifted naturalist, statesman, political economist and linguist who could write in thirteen different languages and dialects.

One day when he was in the Orient, he was looking over an area devastated by an earthquake. Standing high above the ruins, like a lone sentinel, stood the tower of a church. And piercing the sky with its silhouette, on the very tip of the tower was a cross. The sight of this so moved Sir John Bowring that he penned the words of that great old hymn: 

 In the Cross of Christ I glory, Towering o'er the wrecks of time; All the light of sacred story Gathers round its head sublime. And out of the midst of the turmoil, violence and suffering of today's world stands the Cross of Jesus Christ of which there is no greater symbol of both love and hate ... death and life ... judgment and forgiveness .... despair and hope. 

Most crosses are a symbol only of death. But the Cross of Christ is much more than this. While it is a symbol of Christ's death on the cross, more than ever it is a symbol of life—eternal life. Every time we see a cross, whether it be by the roadside or on a tombstone, we are reminded of the certainty of death—an appointment we all will keep. As God's Word says, "No one has power over the day of his death."- Ecclesiastes 8:8 (NIV), And, "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment." - Hebrews 9:27 (NASB). 

 But every time we see a cross that represents the Cross of Christ we are reminded of the fact that over two thousand years ago the Son of God came to earth to die in our place that we might receive the gift of eternal life. He came to identify himself with all mankind, only to be rejected, condemned and crucified on the Cross at Calvary. He came to die, not for himself, but for us in our place, to pay the just penalty for all our sins that we might be cleansed, forgiven, made whole and fit for Heaven.


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