Matthew 16:24: Jesus told His disciples, if anyone would come after me, let Him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Easter 2021 is over and Easter 2022 is a year away. (April 17, 2022) In the meantime you and I will recognize the cross icon on jewelry, stained glass windows and at the top of church steeples. But how often will we recall its significance with our spiritual mind's eye? Do we believe that meditating on Jesus's cross might bring us a little closer to understanding the dimensions of God's love for us?
The cross symbolizes the world's throne for Jesus as they continued to mock His claims of establishing a kingdom. Jesus's willingness to suffer and be tormented on our behalf. represents an unimaginable degree of God's love. The cross is the basis of God so loved the world He gave His only son to be sacrificed for all the sins of mankind. Like Jesus flowing blood, the pain he endured, His collective suffering while hanging on the cross merits our contemplation.
Jesus' death on the cross has transformed the cross' meaning from a disdained, torturous means of executing criminals to become a symbol of God's redemption and offer of reconciliation.
In a broader sense the cross was the transferring instrument that God used in fulfilling the Old Testament law and ushering a new covenant based upon His grace.
The old covenant was based on complying with works to God's prescribed laws. (illegally reinterpreted and added to by the Jewish religious establishment to gain control over the culture). The new covenant is based on the redeeming power of Jesus death and resurrection creating an exclusive access to God's forgiveness through faith and submission to Jesus's teachings. Jesus calls all His followers to bear the cross of the world's rejection, and physical, social, and emotional attacks. But our love for His suffering on the cross and rising on the third day exceeds our fear of the world's criticism.
God's transformation of an ancient punishment device used for a worldly trespasses into a symbol denoting God's love is somewhat parallel to His changing a life destined for desperation into a soul redeemed life that will experience God's eternal kingdom. Spend a few moments reflecting on the words to this song: