What happened was that beachgoers walking along Fort Lauderdale’s coast were surprised to discover a giant wooden cross that had mysteriously washed ashore on Saturday afternoon, February 2nd.
It did not take long for the cross to draw a crowd, from whom it evoked many varying responses. For some, it was seen as an answer to prayer; to others some sort of a “sign”; and to still others “divine timing”.
The owner of the Ocean Manor Resort Hotel, Frank Talerico, was quoted as saying that the 20-foot cross that washed ashore was intended as a sign of protection for the community. It was reported that his sister had been praying at the property earlier that day after having a bad dream. And then, voilà, a giant cross appeared!
Mr. Talerico told the news media that he was glad the cross showed up when and where it did. He wanted everyone to know he was content for it to stay where it was; and that any and every one was welcome to come and take pictures if they so desired.
One family from Michigan, which was staying in his hotel, saw it as a holy symbol meant specifically for them to see. “We stood there and just stared at it and each other for quite a few minutes in awe. We had noticed all the barnacles and knew it had been in the ocean for quite a while, so why would the sea finally cough it up at just that moment if it wasn’t meant for us to find it?”
Another visitor from Michigan, Mary Ann Smolinski, called the cross “very spiritual.” She was quoted in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, as saying: “We were just lying on the beach and we saw a crowd of people around and I just got up to see what was going on. It was a cross that was laying right in the water.”
At this time, the origin of the cross is still unknown. Given that it is encrusted with barnacles, it is likely to have been at sea for some time. Most have concluded that it came from Puerto Rico or some other island, possibly as a result of a hurricane.
A late night discussion between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus is recorded in the New Testament Gospel of John (chapter 3, verses 1-21). This passage, of course, contains the world’s best known Bible verse, John 3:16, wherein Jesus says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The context of that verse is Jesus telling Nicodemus about the importance of being born again on order to experience life in the Kingdom of God. As a part of this discussion, Jesus also alluded to His own impending crucifixion by referencing the pole upon which Moses had placed the serpent and lifted it up in order for the children of Israel to be healed from being bitten by poisonous snakes. (This incident is recorded in the Old Testament Book of Numbers, chapter 21, verses 4-9.)
At this point, Jesus makes this significant statement (in verses 14 and 15): “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” Later on, in the same gospel (chapter 12, verse 32), Jesus said “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”
And there we have the essence of the Gospel. At God’s direction, Moses lifted up a bronze snake impaled upon a pole so that those who were drawn to it and looked up at it would be saved. Likewise, God allowed Jesus to be affixed to a cross and lifted up from the earth, so that all who were drawn to Him there and considered His purpose on that very cross would be saved!
I’m glad to know that a barnacle encrusted cross washing ashore on the Florida coast still draws a crowd. I’m even more joyful to know that the old rugged cross upon which Jesus gave His life as an atonement for the sins of all people still beckons people to come to it and consider its significance.
I myself was drawn to that cross. And I myself found salvation at the foot of it. I hope you too have been to the foot of the cross. And that you have found what God has for you there. If not, I hope you will go there at the first opportunity! Then, perhaps you too will share the testimony penned by the hymnwriter of old:
“At the cross, at the cross,
Where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away -
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day.”
STORY SOURCE: https://www.foxnews.com/us/giant-wooden-cross-washes-up-on-florida-beach. The writer, Caleb Parke, is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. One can follow him on Twitter @calebpark3.
NOTE: In a similar story, a herd of cattle was recently found assembled in the form of a cross out in a pasture. A neighbor was drawn to the phenomenon, and took a picture that has since gone viral. Cf.: https://www.foxnews.com/us/holy-cow-cattle-form-the-sign-of-the-cross.
HYMN LYRICS SOURCE: https://www.greatchristianhymns.com/at-the-cross.html.