Sunday, September 21, 2014

Again and Again and Again - The Cross


To most the cross is a religious symbol. To some it is a talisman. To some it is a martyr. To some it is sad. To some it was a death of a Jew. And to some it was the payment for our sins. But to the masses of unbelievers and believers alike it is mostly ignored on a daily basis and it only enters the mind briefly on Sunday mornings…sometimes.

But the cross where the Lord Jesus suffered and gave His very life is the deepest and most profound mystery of all eternity. Once a sinner has embraced Jesus as Savior and become born again by God’s Spirit most trudge along in this world with a shallow and stagnant recognition of the cross in the redemption process. But few have opened their hearts and beseeched the Spirit to guide them into the sacred treasures that are embedded within that cross.

It is the revelation of God’s shekinah uncovered to the world. It is the place where the Holiest of All was carried out from inside the Tabernacle and instead of blinding eyes it gave sight to whosoever would look and live. Who can really know it? That God became a man is a colossal mystery, but that this God-man would, or even could, die is injustice at its very zenith bringing forth an eternal justice for those who actually were unjust.

The pure and innocent Lamb was slaughtered publicly and that horrific event was recorded so that all generations could know it. Do you understand how much you still do not understand about that glorious mystery? To recite some theology and some doctrinal treatise and then walk away as if you can now move on is to mock that bloody tree indeed. This gift to humanity can be fully received by simple but powerful faith, but to open that gift will take a lifetime. To use it once and only once is to abuse it.

Oh the wonder of Jesus and His passion! How can God, who knew the depth of our sin and the complete and utter enjoyment of our sin, how can a holy God find love for such miscreants? And how can a holy God enter into this time and space as one of us? And how can a holy God who needs nothing but yet comes to seek and save that which was lost? And how can a holy God allow Himself to be impaled upon a tree He had made, and then battered and beaten and mocked, and then this holy God writhes in mortal pain unlike any other, and then this holy God dies?

That remains in another league of comprehension. But once you realize you have only scratched the surface, and once your heart begins to beat for more of Him, then and only then can the Spirit guide you into realms unknown in the natural. It is there where you will find eternal bread and living water and treasures of knowledge that somehow can change your inward being from one glory into another. And it all begins and ends with that cross.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

And yet do we abide? Do we recline under the shadow of its mighty wings? Do we draw our very life from its power? Does it break and humble us so that it alone can receive the glory? My glory all the cross? Should we not bow quietly before the cross of our Lord and gaze at its crimson power and open our vessels in order to decrease our sinful selves and increase this Crucified and yet Risen Lamb? Please do not get lost in the metaphors and treat this as a wonderful story alone. This is much more than a story even if you have come to understand its meaning and power.

This is God’s heart, the very essence of Who He was and is and ever will be, being laid down for all human kind. This is the Great Shepherd searching diligently for His lost sheep through a path of repulsive wounds and excruciating breaths and bloody sweat and cruel taunts, and driven by a love we can never know in all its fullness. But one day we shall see Him as He is and on some level we will be like Him.

But let the expectation of that coming day of eternal grace propel you to seek Jesus and His sacrifice with a passion and determination that makes the world wonder why and makes the visible church deem you as self righteous and fanatical. And lest we ever feel proud about all that just remember this: To see with spirit eyes the Spirit pull back the veil ever so slightly and allow you to see and more fully understand the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ will humble you beyond anything you could ever imagine. You will be viscerally reviled at your own sinful self and at the same time you will experience a redemptive love that can only come from God and placed within you by His Spirit. In essence, you will be overwhelmed.

And then you will seek to return to that place again and again.
If not, then you still have never come to Golgotha.

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