The Passion’s Cross

“Why do You embrace Your Cross, you fool?”

This was one of those scenes that just gripped my heart.  As Jesus is just given the Cross to carry to Calvary, one of the thieves shouts out the question in mockery.  Yet Christ is unfazed, unafraid, understanding what it means.

What does the Cross mean?  What is its significance? 

The Cross is suffering.  The Cross is heavy.  The Cross is death.  It is a burden to be carried.  It is hard.  It splinters, cracks, wounds, pushes, crushes.  There is agony, fatigue, rising and falling.  There is carrying, pulling, pushing. There is flogging, shouting, mocking.  Ever on; until at last there is stopping.  There is no rest.  Stretching, hurting, scraping, pounding. Nails.  Left hand pierced.  Right hand pierced.  Feet pierced.  Lifting, dropping, jerking, hanging.  Jeering.  Thirst.  Questioning.  Submitting.  Dying.

Effort. Pain. Sweat. Blood. Death.

“Why do You embrace Your Cross?”

The Cross is purpose.  The Cross is light.  The Cross is life.  It is a burden to be lifted.  It is easy.  It restores, renews, heals, reaches out, carries.  There is peace, rest, smooth ground.  There is learning, maturing, growing.  There is discipline, whispered truth, encouragement.  Ever on; mercies new every day.  There is no despair.  Reproving, comforting, correcting, covering.  Grace.  Left hand extended.  Right hand extended.  Feet running.  Lifting, twirling, laughing, partying.  Celebrating.  Quenched.  Answering.  Giving.  Living.

Peace.  Hope.  Joy.  Love.  Life.

“Why do You embrace Your Cross?”

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

We are that joy that was set before Him.  Christ endured the agony, the pain, the suffering, the difficulty—the death—so that we could have life with Him.  Us.  Me.  You.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:27-28).

Jesus’ Cross was about accomplishing something: it was about purpose, focus, vision.  It was selfless.  There was nothing self-serving, self-promoting about it.  It was because He saw us living the life we were created for—a life that could only be lived through Him.

“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master…. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:24-25, 38).

We are each called to take up a cross: a life surrendered to God’s purpose, as Christ’s was.  That cross means personal sacrifice, hardship, even suffering.  It means death to selfish living, death to the flesh, death to sin.  But that cross also means fulfillment, joy, even perfect restoration.  It means bringing His life to others, experiencing eternal life, and knowing the greatest love everlasting. 

Why do you embrace your cross?

—Mark Knoles

Maxim of the Moment

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. - Duke Ellington