On that first Christmas, Jesus came to earth to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Hear Billy Graham explain how Jesus took our place on the cross and what it can mean for your life in this 1985 message from Hartford, Connecticut. Watch more #MondayNightClassics every Monday at 8 p.m. ET. CONNECT with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: on Facebook:   / billygrahamevangelisticassociation  

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from our archives the Billy Graham
classics one of the television
networks ran a series of
programs on the early days of
Christianity and they included the
crucifixion of Jesus Christ one of the
most graphic pictures
I have ever
seen and among all the emblems of the
world none is
admired glorified and worshiped as the
cross it was the instrument of Christ’s
suffering and death and it’s also the
instrument of our
Salvation the history of the Cross is
very interesting because it goes back to
India it goes back to China long before
Christ ever came and the victim as you
know was fastened To The Cross by cords
or his hands were nailed and he was left
die and the Heat of the Sun the pull of
body and the torture that he’ had before
he was on the cross it took sometimes
two and three days and sometimes a week
for a person to die on a cross the most
terrible the most awful
the most painful way to die that we can
imagine but by the time of
Constantine in the 4th century and he
had become a Christian or a professing
Christian it was as an instent of
torture it had been
abolished and later Christian nations
started to use the cross as a symbol of
Christianity it was embossed upon their
chariots upon whatever they had and the
cross became the symbol of everything
that Christianity stood for and through
such organizations as the Red Cross it’s
become an international sign of Good
Will and help to other people Hebrews
the sixth chapter it says for it is
impossible for those who were once
enlightened and have tasted of the
Heavenly gift and were made partakers of
the Holy Spirit and if tasted the good
word of God and the powers of the world
to come if they shall fall away to renew
them again to
repentance seeing that they crucify to
themselves the Son of God aresh and put
him to open and
shame every time the gospel is
proclaimed those who hear the message
and receive Christ as
Savior come by the way of the Cross but
if you neglect or refuse God’s offer of
love and mercy from the
cross you help crucify Jesus Christ
that’s the reason it’s wrong to say that
the Jews crucified Christ as Christians
said especially in the Middle Ages and
they used to make try to make Jews
converts at the end of a sword or point
a gun at their head or a knife at their
throat to try to make them converted
because they said they would Christ
killers they did not kill Christ you
know who killed Christ all of us we all
had a part in his
death because his death was planned
before the foundation of the world
because of sin and the Bible says we’ve
all sinned and come short of the glory
of God there are four dimensions of the
cross that I think about when I talk
about it I think about the breadth of
the cross the love of of Christ is
manifested in the Cross of Christ that
includes everybody God’s love extends to
Africa to Asia to Latin America to
Russia to China to America to Canada to
the whole world it includes you whoever
you are whatever your religion or if you
have no religion God loves you and he
says from the cross I love you then
there’s the length of the
cross it has no measure it extends from
eternity to Eternity from Everlasting to
Everlasting when Noah built the ark do
you know how long it was 450 ft long
when Solomon built the temple you know
how long it was 60
cubits if you build a shed for garden
tools you can measure the lumber with a
ruler but how can you measure the end to
end of God’s love in the cross the Bible
says Paul said that God’s love surpasses
knowledge there’s no way that our finite
Minds can even begin to understand the
love of God that would give his son on
the cross to die for you because you and
I deserve that death we deserved hell
judgment and then I think of the height
of the cross it extends to the throne of
God it doesn’t matter how high heaven is
through the cross God draws all men to
him and you have to make it decision
about Jesus Christ scientists are
looking out into space further and
further and further but they can’t get
away from
God the subject of uh astronomy and the
subject of the space Frontier is very
exciting to
me there are scientists here tonight who
know far more about the height of the
universe than I can ever
explain but Heaven is out there
somewhere we don’t know exactly where
you say do you you believe Heaven is a
place yes I believe it’s a place I
believe I’m going to see the golden
streets and walk on
them and I believe I’m going to live in
a well I think I’ll live in a
shack some of you will live in
mansions yes Heaven is going to be a
place and you cannot go beyond God’s
love even in heaven and then the depth
of God’s love and the cross
you can fall to the very bottomless pit
of sin and
degradation and you can live like an
animal you can be a
murderer you can be a
rapist you can be
anything but you can’t get beyond the
love of
God the cross
covers the to the very Gates of
Hell how deep is
it there are people today that are
trying to find how deep they can go into
the heart of the
earth and how deep space is they can’t
get away from God because as we study
the depths of energy we’re looking for
Unity that’s one of the reasons they’re
making that study in Illinois and the
Bible says oh the depth of the riches of
the wisdom and knowledge of God it can
draw every sinner up to the exalted
height of heaven and I if I be lifted up
from the earth will draw all men unto me
Jesus think of the cross a moment and
think of his suffering for you and for
me it said that Jesus endured five basic
wounds that medical science defines as
contusion when they beat him on the
head and tortured him and put a crown of
thorns on him for
laceration they buried his back and took
long leather whips with steel pellets on
the end and beat him until he was
bleeding from head to
toe that was the Roman way they tortured
prisoners before they took them to the
Cross then there was penetration when
they crushed that crown of thorns on his
brow and his head bled there was
preparation when they drove the nails
through his hands and feet there was
incision when they put the spear in his
that suffering those nails through his
hands and feet were
driven by
you and me and all the peoples of the
world because we all had a part in the
death of Christ because of our sins our
sins put him to the cross and you
participated you may be watching by
somewhere and you would like to come to
the Cross tonight and find God’s love
and God’s forgiveness and God’s touch on
life you’ll see on the screen there a
number you can call it and their counsel
is standing by ready to talk with you
you might have to call several times but
keep calling you’ll get somebody they’ll
be there all evening and they’ll help
you and send you some literature to help
you stand and to help you live the
Life and I’m going to ask people here
after a while to come to Christ and then
I want us to look at the cross from
another point of view I want us to look
at the sayings of Christ from the cross
we usually hear a sermon like this on
Good Friday and that’s about it but most
of us don’t go to church on Good Friday
so we never hear
it there are 28 prophecies in the Old
Testament about about the cross whole
chapters there’s Genesis 22 and Psalm 22
and Isaiah 53 and Leviticus 16 that
especially deal with the suffering of
Christ on the cross hundreds and
thousands of years before he ever went
to the
Cross they were under inspiration of the
Holy Spirit the writers of the Old
Testament and the first one comes from
Psalm 22 Jesus was quoting scripture
when he said my God my God why hast thou
for Aken me that’s a quote from Psalm 22
but then you go on a little bit further
and you’ll see why he said
it because the scripture says Thou Art
holy you’ll never understand the Old
Testament with all of its blood
sacrifices you’ll never understand the
Bible you’ll never understand the death
of Christ on the cross till you
understand that God is a holy and
righteous and pure God and he cannot
even look upon
evil so in that terrible moment of the
agony of the Lord Jesus Christ on the
cross he was lonely forsaken by his
friends and then a Shad comes for the
first time since eternity began between
God the father and God the son because
God cannot look upon sin because in that
moment he was laying your sins and mine
Christ and Christ was suffering for
us and in that mysterious moment he was
made to be sin for us who knew no sin do
you know what that means made to be sin
had never known sin never told a lie
never had an evil thought never had any
greed or lust all of a sudden all of
that filth and dirt from your life and
my life descended on him
and none of us will ever understand the
mystery of that
moment no Theologian can explain it to
my satisfaction at
least it was God’s great love for
you that allowed his son to take that
suffering and then the second thing from
the cross that we hear is when he said I
thirst and that’s a fulfillment of Psalm
69:21 and when he said I thirst they
gave him vinegar and drink mingled with
gall and when he had tasted thereof he
would not drink
it he tasted as we read later in John in
in another one of the gospels but he
didn’t drink it why because it would
have been a
sedative it would have taken away some
of the
suffering and he was there to do to take
all the suffering in absolute
Consciousness for you and for me he
wouldn’t take it he must suffer the
terrible Agony and carry our sins on the
cross in full
Consciousness for
you and if you had been the only person
in the whole world he would have died
you and then in Luke 23:34 is another
thing that he said from the cross he
said father forgive
them they don’t know what they do now he
was talking about those soldiers that
were nailing him the crowd out there
that was yelling and
screaming at
him 72,000 Angels pulled their swords
ready to come and rescue him and he said
no I’m doing it because I love them you
see you and I had sinned against God we
had broken his laws and he said in the
day that you break my law you will
suffer and die he said that to Adam and
Eve they broke his
law they sinned that’s what sin is and P
you see God never meant that anybody
would ever
die and God did not create hell for
us but we deliberately rebelled against
God and God would not be God he wouldn’t
be just and righteous and holy if he
came along and patted us on the back and
said you’re
forgiven we had to die for our own sins
or somebody who was qualified had to die
for us and that person that was
qualified was Jesus Christ and he
volunteered to do
it he died in our
place I heard about a woman writing to a
columnist and said that her cure for
Guilt was to go to the back Garden dig a
hole in the earth lie down on her
stomach speak all of her guilt and
confess all of her wrongs into that
place that she had dug and then covered
up and people will do almost anything to
get rid of their guilt the place to get
rid of guilt is at the cross for
centuries people have done desperate
things to bury their guilt James
Nelson that we have read about last
year as a boy in an alcohol soaked scene
beat his mother to death with a
brick he served nine years in prison and
during that time he met Christ at the
cross and the Deep repentance and
confession of Christ as his Savior and
his law he began to study the Bible he
began to be a lay preacher and last year
he was ordained in the Church of
Scotland as a presbyterian
Minister the Forgiveness of God the love
of God the power of the
Cross to change and forgive how
wonderful and
thrilling and then another thing that he
did at the cross that is one of the most
touching things to me in all the
world now they stood by the cross
mother and he looked to
John one of his disciples and he said
behold this
woman and she said and he said to Mary
his mother he called her woman just like
he did at can of Galilee he called her
twice woman he said woman Behold thy son
and from that hour on John his friend
and his disciple took care of his mother
there’s a rock group in England called
Cure Jesus Christ on the cross was the
cure for all our human severed and
relationships all the social problems
the oppressed peoples of the world feel
the impact of his death on the
cross and then there was another
statement from the
cross he said it is finished it is
finished what did he mean
in John 17 he had said I finished the
work that thou has given me to do God
gave him a job to do and the job was to
die on the cross to this end was I born
he said he came to die he’s the only man
ever born to die that was why he
came we wonder why he didn’t feed
everybody and heal everybody he could
have done
it that would have healed some bodies
and fed some people that were hungry and
he he did that out of compassion but his
real work was the
cross and that’s why the cross is so
important because there you’re dealing
eternity you see the body is going to go
to the grave but your soul your spirit
that part of you that lives forever that
lives inside of your body is going to
live on and on and on and on where is it
going to spend eternity Heaven or
Hell it’ll be decided by the cross what
you do about the cross because from the
cross he’s asking you to repent of sin
and receive him as Lord and
Savior yes it is
finished and then he said something
else in Luke 23 and when Jesus had cried
with a loud voice he said father into
thy hands I commit my
spirit now I’ve seen a few people
die quite a number of people die
I’ve heard the death
rattle in their
throat but there was no death rattle in
the throat of
Jesus they did not take his life from
him he laid it down voluntarily and he
said in a loud voice notice a loud voice
he said
I commend my
spirit into thy hands oh Lord I commend
my spirit he gave up his Spirit to God
father and in saying this he conferred
upon every one of us the possibility of
the gift of eternal life you can have
eternal life tonight and you that are
watching by television can pick up that
telephone and call that number on your
screen and someone will be there to talk
to you about receiving this
Christ we were lost confused without
purpose and meaning in life no Assurance
of a future life life and Jesus from the
cross reached
out by death and rescued us and we say
to him today Lord and Savior are you
sure he’s your lord and your
savior thousands of people go to church
but they’re not
sure that they’ve committed their lives
Christ and then lastly there was the
statement that he made to a thief on the
the crowds down below was shouting if
you’re the Son of God come down and save
yourself others was saying he saved
others himself he cannot save they were
mocking they were jering they were
laughing both of the thieves were
criticizing you see he was on the cross
for 6 hours and the first three hours
they were both criticizing him and
making fun of him like the crowds down
below but one of the thieves began to
look they were both guilty they both
deserved to die according to Roman
law but one of
them began to look at
Jesus and he began to see something he’d
never seen anywhere else before he saw
that Jesus was different and he began to
say to himself he must be the Son of
God he must be
Lord and He rebuked the other thiefs
saying don’t you be a God we deserve
what we’re getting but he’s not he
hasn’t done anything
wrong then he turned to Jesus and he
said Lord and that word Lord means my
very own Lord he said Lord remember me
when you come to your
kingdom what an Act of Faith and Jesus
said what did Jesus say
today you will be with me in
paradise and the angels of heav Heaven
were watching to see who would be the
first one that he would
take to
Paradise it was a thief that deserved
hell the forgiveness and the mercy of
God is so far beyond our comprehension
that it that we cannot we can hardly
about yes that
Thief is going to be in heaven and
you’re going to see him
Jesus took
him by the death of the cross two
thieves which are you which cross are
on the one that’s rejecting or
neglecting or even making
fun or are you the one that receives and
accepts I’m asking you to make your
commitment to Christ tonight just as
simply what do you have to do three
things first you must repent of your sin
that word repent means to change change
your way of living change your attitude
now you cannot do it alone but God will
help you if you’re
willing the second thing is by faith
receive Christ Into Your Heart by faith
you cannot come intellectually
alone man cannot come to God just with
his mind he has to come by faith like a
little child trusting his father or
and then thirdly you must be willing to
follow him and serve him it’s not just
receiving him it’s
being a follower of his every hour of
day you won’t become
perfect but you’ll change directions in
your life you’re going this
way and you’re turned by the spirit of
God and you start a different way and
I’m going to ask you to do something
we’ve seen hundreds of people do here
every night I’m going to ask you to get
up out of your seat and come and stand
in front of this platform and say by
coming I want to know when I leave here
tonight the Bible says he that hardened
his heart being often reproved shall
suddenly be cut off and that without
remedy you may never have a moment like
this when you are so close to the
kingdom of God
again come tonight you may be a member
of the best Church in town you may be a
counselor you may be a choir member you
maybe a clergyman but you’re not sure
how you stand before God and you want to
come to the cross and find forgiveness
of all your sins and a certainty that if
you died tonight you’d go to heaven you
get up and come right now hundreds of
you just come straight down and stand
here and make that
commitment there are many of you that
have been watching by television we’re
here in Southern New
England Crusade being held in Hartford
Connecticut and every night we’ve seen
hundreds of people come and make the
commitment to Christ and you see tonight
hundreds more coming you can make that
commitment where you are at
home you may be in a hotel room you may
be in a bar wherever you are pick up the
phone and call the number on the screen
and there’ll be somebody there to talk
you again we’d like to encourage you to
make this your moment of decision and
take a few moments to make that
telephone call and talk to someone who
was ready to talk with you we have
phones all across the country where
people who are standing by are praying
that God will speak to you through his
word and through the message tonight so
you make that telephone call it could
well be the most important call you
could ever
if you just prayed that prayer with my
father or if you have any questions
about a relationship with Jesus Christ
I’ll just call that number that is on
the screen there’ll be someone there to
talk with you pray with you and answer
those questions and
remember God loves
you if you would like to commit your
life to Jesus Christ please call us
right now toll-free at
4559 that’s
4559 or you can write to us at Billy
Graham 1 Billy Graham Parkway Department
C Charlotte North Carolina 2820 01 or
you can contact us on the web 247 at