Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:39-40)
When you look at a cross, what do you see? 2000 years ago, the watching world saw a defeated, dying man who claimed to be the Savior of the world. But God saw His perfect justice satisfied by His perfect Son, who triumphed through defeat. In the end, the cross is where we see the great reversal of the world’s values and where a countercultural kingdom was birthed by the death of its King. The cruelest instrument of death known at that time brought about the death of the world’s glorification of power, position, and prestige . . . and brought eternal life to all who place their trust in the crucified One.
On the hill Golgotha, Jesus won through losing, gained through giving, and achieved ultimate status through unimaginable service. The cross creates a countercultural kingdom in which its citizens see life as God intended it to be. Success is achieved through the service of others, not at their expense. Power is used to advance the cause of the kingdom of the Savior, rather than the kingdom of self. Forgiveness is now given freely and without exception to all those who have offended or wronged us. The cross of Christ creates a kingdom that is marked by love for God and love for others, regardless of the cost or circumstance. This is what I call a cross-shaped life.
Does this define your life today?
The cross of Christ made no sense to the watching world, but it makes all the sense in the world to those who have been transformed by it. Jesus died that we might live. But the life Jesus calls us to live is a life marked by the death of the self. If Jesus is to increase in our lives, we must decrease. If Jesus is to rule over our lives, we must surrender and submit. If Jesus is to lead, we must follow wherever He leads. And because Jesus is the King of this countercultural kingdom, He will often lead us in directions that seemingly make no sense . . . which is why we are to navigate through this life, not with a compass, but with a cross. It is only when we view life through the cross that we will begin to live a cross-shaped life.
Remember, it was on that cross that Jesus cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?” Why was an ignominious death on the cross necessary? The answer, of course, is as profound as it is personal: it was necessary because of YOU! Now, that’s a counterintuitive cross. Remember that the next time you see one. And rejoice!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!