Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Reason for the Cross

            I think about the Cross a lot. People die within our lives every day it seems, but who are they? An aunt, a mother, a friend, a political leader, an actor, or someone else we know of. Jesus was a son, a brother, a friend, and a leader, but above everything else He was God. Yes, God![1] The Maker of Heaven and Earth, the Wonderful Counselor, the Almighty, and the Great I AM. This perfect and holy Son of Man was beaten and torn for us! It wasn’t the death of a man which we would soon recover from the sorrow of; it was the death of our Creator and that is something we will never forget or “get over”.
            Sometimes we want to fall at the throne of our Savior and kiss His feet, but would we have kissed His bloody nail pierced hands or wiped away the dirt and sweat? Sadly, most of us wouldn’t have. Many of us would have denied Him like Peter did[2] and we would have walked away just so we didn’t scar our precious minds. Don’t turn away! Stare at it! Stare at the Lamb of God bleeding and crying out. Hear it, taste it, see it, smell it, feel it; but whatever you do, don’t turn away from it.
            What should our response to such an experience be? We should weep in shame so profoundly that our entire being shakes. We should raise our hands begging God to explain why He would pay the price for us. Most importantly we should respond with the greatest love our hearts have ever known.
            Christ’s blood fell on the road to Calvary for that sole reason: love. God loved us so much that He sent His Son, a part of Him, to this Earth as a helpless child, made Him live in this world of sin and hate, and then allowed Him to hang on a tree as a criminal so that we, the sinful and disobedient, would be freed from bondage and able to enter the Holy Gates of Heaven! [3] Heaven! That is where God sits on His throne. I don’t belong there; I’ve cheated, I’ve lied, I’ve murdered, I’ve stolen, I’ve coveted, and I’ve hated. But God knows I’ve fallen, He knows everyone has[4], but because of His unfathomable gift of love it isn’t about what we’ve done.
            So, how do we, the body, get our hearts back to the true love Christ desires from us? Our stubbornness tends to keep us from seeing anything wrong with ourselves, but from God’s viewpoint we’ve got a lot messed up. Two points I want to make that we seemed to have degraded are Belief and Action.
            Belief. What do we believe? Have we entrusted our knowledge to the Word of God or have we relied on a denominational doctrine? I often wonder if our churches are too clean. Are the blood covered feet of Jesus walking on the floors, is His cross dripping onto the pulpit, are the dirty and hungry allowed in, or do we keep the insides of those four walls spotless? Our belief should be like that of the criminal who hung beside Christ on that fateful day[5]. He witnessed the sea of red and he smelled the sweat and tears, yet He believed in that man. He knew deep within His heart that all of Jesus’ turmoil was for him and he accepted that Jesus. The criminal didn’t see a painting of the Lord perched upon a cross appearing to be clean, he saw the Holy One beaten into an unrecognizable state and suffering greatly. If we could make ourselves see as he did then there is no way our beliefs could remain where they are.
            Action. We enjoy our lives and that is wonderful. God wants us to be happy and joyful, but we are missing out on one of the greatest joys: Service. When Christ was here He was not served, but instead He served others[6]. He wants us to continue His work for the broken, widowed, orphaned, and hurt[7]. Simon was forced to lift a heavy burden on the day of the crucifixion[8], but what he accomplished in that grueling task of carrying the cross of Christ was an example. An example for all of us to pick up our heavy and wearisome crosses and follow Jesus Christ wherever He goes[9]. The cross should not shrink to become lighter or be tossed to the side for an occasional vacation, but instead it should be taken up and carried every day of our lives.
            As soon as we believe in the true sacrifice and take up our own crosses, then we see the Resurrection. Beautiful Christ coming forward made new so that He can embrace us and make us new in Him. Then, we get to enter into the greatest love relationship the world has ever known. And that is the reason for the Cross.

[1] John 1:1-2
[2] Matthew 26:69-75
[3] John 3:16
[4] Romans 3:23
[5] Luke 23:40-43
[6] Matthew 20:28
[7] James 1:27
[8] Luke 23:26
[9] Luke 9:23

1 comment:

  1. Hi!

    I was blog surfing, and came across your blog. What a wonderful place you have here. I took the liberty of following you. :)

    And what a beautiful post! And how true it is. We daily need a reminder to look back, see and remember what our Lord and Saviour did for us. To travel back in time and really see HIM give HIS life on the cross, for us. I know am so unworthy, but I am ever thankful for HIS sacrifice and everlasting mercy and forgivness! :)

    Have a blessed day!