The story of the California Gold Rush, beginning in 1849, is widely known. Hundreds of thousands risked their meager savings and even their lives to come to get rich quick in the foothills of California. Indeed millions of dollars in gold flowed into the hands of the diligent and the lucky. At the high-point, $90 million was produced in 1852, about $2.7 billion today.
Competition was fierce to get the best spot on a stream to pan or sluice-box the gold-bearing gravel for those precious flakes. A man would “stake his claim” by driving a wooden stake in each of the corners of his property, asserting his right of possession. Thus, “staking” authorized his right to govern his spot.
Interestingly, the word “stake” appears in the Greek New Testament dozens of times as “stauron”. This word can also mean “post” particularly in context of executions. Thus, it came to be translated in English as “cross”.
Catch the imagery of the Son of God being on a stake driven into the ground by God himself. At the Cross, in a powerful symbolism, God the Father is laying claim to the world, establishing God’s right of possession, re-establishing God’s righteous rule through the blood sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ, on a Stake.* At the Cross, God serves notice to the dark ruler of this world that God is invading and taking back what rightfully belongs to God the Father.
What’s at stake? Jesus Christ, planted in the Earth for our sake.
Pastor Dan and Kathleen Prout
Sierra Ministries International
*I am in debt to my friend and colleague, Pastor Ron LaGatta, Raven Ministries, for this insight.