The Missing Cross
I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but the cross from up front was missing last week. Kymber had updated the stage to the fall season with some new furnishings, and so I moved the cross thinking it was in the way or not in keeping with the fall decor. (Later, Kymber told she had added her fall decorations to the cross, so I could have kept it there!) But either way--it make me think, is the cross missing?
A quick word search of the New Testament gives us 31 places where the word cross is used. All but three of these refer to the cross associated with Jesus dying for our sins. The gospels reveal Jesus saying that we must take up our cross daily (Luke 9:51) and without taking it up, we can not be a follower of Jesus (Luke 14:27). Paul goes on to say that though foolishness to those who don’t believe, for those who do, the cross is the power of God (1Corinthians 1:18). Other uses refer to it’s physical being or similar concepts to those already mentioned.
Like so many aspects of scriptures there is an academic nature to what they say as well as a practical. In the case with the cross the academic is pretty straight forward. Jesus became a curse on that cross (Galatians 3:13), abolishing the old law (Colossians 2:14), and reconciling us to God though the blood that was shed (Colossians 1:20). Jesus died on the cross, shedding His blood to redeem us, to save us, because of the great love He and the Father have for us. A good academic understanding of the cross.
The practical nature of the cross can be somewhat more difficult to grasp and definitely more difficult to live. “Take up your cross”, “your cross to bear”, “nail it to the cross”, all phrases we have probably heard at one time or another; but, how do we practically live these concepts out on a daily basis? To me the simplest answer goes back to what Jesus did. He did what wasn’t comfortable so that others could be with God. When we look at taking up the cross, it is about getting self out of the way in order for others to know God. Ah, self--that very difficult aspect of practically following God.
If we are not careful, the cross isn’t just missing from up front at the building, but also in our lives. We forget what following Jesus is all about and start focusing on what we want, what is most comfortable to us, or what we are used to. When we do this the cross is missing from our lives. Is it easy to put ourselves aside for others? No. Jesus showed us that at Gethsemane. Three times He prayed to not have to go through with the crucifixion, finishing up by saying, “Not My will but Yours be done” (Matthew 26:39, 42). We need to make sure we are not focusing on self, but looking through the cross to others. Jesus sacrificed for them to be closer to our Heavenly Father, am I willing to do the same? Make sure the cross
isn’t missing from your life.
Keeping the Cross,
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:6-10)