The city of Rome is built upon seven hills and standing in the center of those hills forged between the remains of the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus is the Palatine Hill. In 1857, there was a significant archaeological find there when a building called domus Gelotiana was unearthed. Found inside was an inscription carved into plaster of a human figure attached to a cross with the head of a donkey. Over the right shoulder of the depiction of Jesus Christ is a Greek letter of upsilon or a tau cross and to the left is an image of a young man named Alexamenos. And the caption attached to the carving, written in crude Greek, states Αλεξαμενος ϲεβετε θεον, or Alexamenos worships his God.
Here Alexamenos, a Christian, is being mocked for worshiping Jesus and the work done on the cross while Jesus, Himself, is mocked as nothing more than a stupid animal. But here, in a 2,000 year old inscription, holds a truth that every Christian and every church should hold fast – stand firm and look to the cross.
The cross is a stumbling block and it is foolishness to the unsaved. It is offensive, hated, despised, disgusting, destructive, and taboo. It is a word that most churches do not use, nor even utter because it absolutely offends the unbeliever and extenuates their wretched state before God.
However, the cross is the power of God unto salvation. It is lovingkindness, grace, mercy, forgiveness, atonement, and that which needs to be rejoiced. The great churches use this word and along with Paul “determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
If your church does not have cross-centered preaching and rejoices in the cross, then run as fast as you can to a church that is. If you are not ready to fall on your knees and worship in the face of ridicule to the glory of the cross, then think about your sin and think about the Savior on the cross paying the price for that sin. If you enjoy listening to feel-good, motivational messages over one that proclaims the amazing God and His work on the cross, then check your motives for coming to Christ.
As Paul stated in Galatians 6:14, “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Rejoice and worship the true Lamb of God just as Alexamenos did and be ready to take the ridicule and mockery because our Lord went through so much more to ransom us from our debt before God.