Recently I have been just taken with the book “The Cross of Christ”. Reading it has reminded me of the centrality of the cross to the identity of Jesus, the storyline of Scripture, and the lives of the most influential believers from Paul to Annie Armstrong.
The cross is an odd symbol for Christians to have plastered everywhere- an execution stake, and according to the bible a cursed way to die (Deuteronomy 21:23). It is a torture device to the Romans, so horrible that no ‘true man’ or Roman citizen was to be put on it. Yet it adorns our necklaces, our church steeple, and our homes. We embrace this torturous symbol because our precious Savior did not despise it.
God himself came down to dwell among us and take the curse that was rightfully ours. He took our sinfulness on his perfect life and was killed for my rebellion and disobedience.
Often, the cross is so ubiquitous that it becomes mundane. But when I take the time to sit at the feet of the cross and see the suffering savior , the perfect Lamb of God, I can’t help but be overwhelmed. I see my sin so clearly- I hung him there in my rebellion against the will of God and his plan for the world, in my prideful choosing of my way above His, in my disobedience to the path he has so clearly laid out before me. How can we not cringe or weep at the sight of the cross? With fresh eyes I read the account of Jesus scorned and in anguish physically and spiritually in Mark 15 and I am pained by it.
Yet, in the cross we also find freedom and life.
The cross is not a place of sorrow only, but a place where repentance leads to joy. The work is finished, the task is accomplished. He defeated the power of the cross by rising again and with it the power that death, sin, and shame hold over all of his disciples. We are free, free indeed!
We can live a life that reflects the lovingkindness of the Savior because he died a death that reflects the depths of our sin. This reflection on the cross has brought me so much joy, and it is a reflection that we are called to do daily as we seek to take up our cross as Jesus does.
My prayer for each of you this month is that you spend time reflecting on the magnitude of the cross. Allow yourself to be alone at the feet of Jesus and see his stripes that heal our wounds (Isaiah 53), and his resurrected body that redeems us.
As we become taken with our beautiful Savior his freedom and joy will spill over to every part of our lives.