Old Rugged Cross (Devotional)

July 6, 2018

March 30, 2018 (Lyric Video Release Date)

Old Rugged Cross

 

1 Peter 2:21-25 

New International Version (NIV)

 

21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

 

22 “He committed no sin,

    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

 

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

 

A popular hymn with very few modern versions, Old Rugged Cross was on my heart for several reasons, but in particular, the third verse is right in line with the theme of my thirty-third album release, NOMAD. 

 

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,

The emblem of suffering and shame;

 

Verse one paints a picture of Calvary with the cross as the focus. The way this song grabs my attention is where the focus lies, in the object rather than the subject. 

 

Rather than ridicule the object for the sheer torture it possessed, writer and composer George Bennard conveys a sense of endearment for the cross, allowing the objects nature to somewhat transform back into the simple pieces of driftwood it once was. 

 

And I love that old cross 

Where the Dearest and Best

For a world of lost sinners was slain.

 

Bennard continues to make this bold decision in the chorus, where he proclaims:

 

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,

Till my trophies at last I lay down;

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

And exchange it someday for a crown.

 

Bennard also conveys the consequences that will ensue from choosing to cherish the suffering and agony our Savior endured. One day he will be rewarded for trusting. 

 

The second verse continues this endearing rhetoric and takes it a little further. 

 

Oh, that old rugged cross, 

So despised by the world,

Has a wondrous attraction for me;

For the dear Lamb of God 

Left His glory above

To bear it to dark Calvary.

 

Bennard flips the coin to those who oppose the cross and brings to mind this passage:

 

John 15:18-19 

New International Version (NIV)

 

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 

 

Christ’s sacrifice should mean so much, understanding that he left the throne of heaven to live a life as both man and God, feeling the physical torture of his death, while being able to stop the agony at any time being the Son of God. 

 

Bennard maintains his focus, stating even though this object is despised by some, he is supernaturally attracted to it, and uses further reasoning to explain his case. 

 

The bridge is an addition that I wrote and composed, not that anything needed to be added, but I also wanted it to be the climax of the song, calling out our responsibility as believers to: 

 

Matthew 16:24-26 

English Standard Version (ESV)

 

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

 

While we are taking up the cross, we understand the sacrifices that are associated with this idea. We also understand what he did for us making the call a lot easier to fulfill. 

 

John 15:13

New International Version (NIV)

 

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.

 

I will cling, I will cling

Take up my cross and follow you

Lord, come what may

You’ll see me through

 

I will cling, I will cling

Take up my cross and follow you

Through precious blood

My life made new

 

Romans 5:8 

New International Version (NIV)

 

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

The final verse is the crux of the entire album. This solidified the decision to include the song on NOMAD: 

 

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;

Its shame and reproach gladly bear;

Then He’ll call me someday 

To my home far away,

Where His glory forever I’ll share.

 

Bennard proclaims that no matter what, his allegiance will remain with the cross. He also states that he will joyfully take on any shame and persecution for this decision. 

 

Yet, the last few lines are the apex of the song. They fit perfectly with the scripture theme of the album. This is the reward for taking up the cross and living a life following God’s will:

 

John 14:2-3 

English Standard Version (ESV)

 

2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

 

Download Old Rugged Cross by searching “Jermaine Bollinger NOMAD” on your favorite digital download or streaming music service. 

 

 

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