Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Mark of the Cross

“All God's plans have the mark of the cross on them and all His plans have death to self in them.” - E.M. Bounds (1835-1913)

At the end of March we will celebrate an unprecedented event. It forever changed the course of humanity for good. Though it happened over 2,000 years ago, its impact has stretched through time and continues to grow. Jesus of Nazareth—who was fully God and fully man, faultless yet convicted, perfect yet despised, free to walk away yet resolved to show his love for humanity—took up a cross and carried it to a place known for death. Beaten, bleeding, crowned with thorns and mocked by his oppressors, Jesus took his last breath at what looked like the end. And the symbol of that sacrifice was the cross.

Consider the cross… It’s not to be revered in place of Jesus, and it’s not the only symbol we have of God’s love for us. But it is a paradox, both terrifying and beautiful. It shows us great pain, suffering and death. But it also shows us great love, hope and life.

Consider the cross… On Ash Wednesday crosses of ash are drawn on foreheads as a reminder that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. But our brokenness is not the end of the story, because Jesus made a way for us. Though our bodies will rest for a time, they will be resurrected again as Jesus was resurrected.

Consider the cross… It’s not the end of the story. It’s the beginning of a new story. It was intended for death but it made way for life. Not just then, but even now. What does it look like for us to take up our own cross? If God’s plans have death to self in them, then how will we follow Jesus to Golgotha today? How can we pour out our lives as Jesus did?

As we journey through Lent toward Easter, consider the cross. And on Easter Sunday, let’s consider the life we have been given. Let’s raise a loud shout of joy to Jesus, “who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame.” 

Let’s praise Him, and let’s consider how we can take up our own cross, to transform our world through Jesus for the glory of God!

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