Luke 9:23 – “And he said to them all, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.'”
QUESTION: What does the cross mean to you?
I want you to take a moment and see a version of it in your mind. At the heart of a Christian’s faith lies that image. We might not all agree on what Jesus might have looked like as he walked the earth, but I’ll bet we can all agree on the universal image of the cross. Though two believers of different denominations may imagine its detail differently, the silhouette is unmistakable. Never in the history of mankind has one image invoked the gamut of emotions the way the cross does.
- Atheists might say, “There is no God, so I don’t think about it.”
- A new believer might view it as a painful reminder capping the humiliation and torture our Lord endured for us.
- A seasoned pastor may look on the cross with joy, as reassurance of the completed work of Abba Father, once for all mankind.
- Still, others may look at it as nothing more than an accessory to complement the watch and bracelet worn today.
IN 43 years, I’ve harbored each of those attitudes of the cross. For most of my childhood, it represented nothing more than a long vertical stick attached to a short horizontal stick; not even worth a second thought compared to my toys. Through adolescence, I developed an atheistic arrogance and disdain for those who coveted it. I treated it as a simple accessory to dangle from my gold chain, with no regard for the significance of its existence. Sixteen years ago, the cross brought about feelings of solemn reverence, even sad respect, because I couldn’t understand why Jesus would allow himself to endure that kind of punishment for me.
Today…today, the cross is my source of inspiration. Whenever times are rough, the valleys are especially low, and it seems as if I can’t catch a breathe of fresh air for the life circumstances surrounding me, I remember that image stands for victory. It killed my Lord, but it never stopped him! The cross is the instrument I nail my sinful desires, fears, and anger, to and bury daily; daily, family! You see, it never stops.
Each day I wake, I have to deal with my human flaws. Sometimes my issues just don’t seem fair. The cross reminds me that I serve a God who overcame death itself. The battles I don’t have the strength to conquer he defeats for me, because of his work on the cross. I believe he fights my battles, not because I ask him to bail me out, but because of his ultimate plan for my life; a plan I can’t rightly see the outcome of. Where my human eyes lack the ability to see Jesus bodily, the cross represents his work, in my eyes.
So today, what does the cross mean to you?