The Cross of Jesus Christ
The cross is the place where Jesus bore the sin of humanity in His body. It’s a truth we do not ponder often due to the enormity of what it actually means. How does one even comprehend “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24)? Jesus–the Son of God. Bore–carried, endured, experienced. Our sins–OUR, the collective sin of all humanity from all time, past/present/future. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son . . .” (John 3:16, italic mine). In His body–Jesus’ body was filled with human, physical pain and also unearthly, divine pain as our sin was laid upon Him.
In the midst of pain, the cross is the place where Jesus revealed the beautiful plan of God the Father. Redemption and reconciliation were always His plan, and the cross is the greatest “aha!” moment of all eternity. This! This was the plan from creation in Genesis-time: “the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). All history was preparing for this one, pivotal moment: Jesus and the cross. How marvelously beautiful His love, displayed in such humility and grace.
Foolishness and joyful fellowship
The cross is the place where Jesus fully humbled Himself, submitting to death. This humility and submission are seen as foolish in the world’s eyes. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18). What deity would come to their world to die? And not a heroic death, but a criminal and humiliating kind of death. What deity would make a plan to include their own death on a cross? Foolishness! And yet, this is our salvation. “God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
In the midst of foolishness, the cross is the place where Jesus invites us to join Him in communal cross-bearing, resulting in joy! “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24-26). We find friendship with Jesus at the cross: “I want to know Christ . . . and the fellowship of His suffering, becoming like Him in His death” (Philippians 3:10). And we find joy at the cross: “who for the joy set before Him [Jesus] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Have you ever felt the camaraderie of shared experience and journey? This kind of fellowship–heavenly and joyful–is available for us at the cross of Jesus Christ.
The cross is the place where death was swallowed up by life. Jesus’ death opened up the way of life for our souls. “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? . . . But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). Into the darkest places of pain and brokenness, the cross of Jesus shines with hope. If God can bring life from his Son’s death, then He can resurrect beauty from our own ashes. He can rescue us!
There are no in-between opinions about the cross of Jesus: it is either nothing to you or everything to you. We either look upon Jesus’ suffering with disgust or with eternal gratitude. We either only see foolishness or join in the cross-carrying fellowship. We either acknowledge the death of just another man or bow in reverence at the feet of our life-giving Son of God.
The Cross of Jesus.
The enigma of the ages.
The divine intersection of brokenness and beauty.