“It is the picture of violence, yet the key to peace. It is a picture of suffering, yet the key to healing. It is a picture of utter weakness, yet the key to power. It is a picture of capital punishment, yet the key to mercy and forgiveness. It is a picture of supreme shame, yet the Christian’s supreme boast. It is a picture of death, yet the key to life. It is a picture of vicious hatred, yet the key to love.” What irresistible love.” Rev. Alexander Whyte
Reverend Whyte is describing the cross, both an instrument of torture and an instrument of salvation. To those who don’t understand, it makes little sense that the only Son of God would allow Himself such a cruel death. For those who know the truth, there is rejoicing that God would undergo such a sacrifice of Himself so that we might be saved. Scripture says as much in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the Word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
On the cross both the frailty of humanity and the divine power of God were on display. The cross is where our Savior gasped for His last breath as He was slowly asphyxiated, no longer able to rest himself on the nails that had been driven through His body. The cross is also where sin and death would meet their match as the supreme sacrifice was given to pay for the iniquity of all mankind.
Even as terrifying as it was, our Savior accepted His fate, knowing what it would do for all who would come to faith in Him. Hebrews 2:1-2 describes this saying, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
It was with joy that Jesus endured the cross because He knew that by His sacrifice, all who believed in Him would not perish but would have eternal life. Though He feared the torture as any man would, He longed for the result of His suffering. Though he would know the shame associated with it, He ignored it for the greater good of fulfilling His calling.
And He endured the cross despite the crowd mocking Him, spitting on Him and turning their backs on Him. In truth, it was because of the lost that He came, so that they might one day turn from their evil ways and come to faith. Because God loved His creation, He would not abandon them to their sinful nature.
Romans 5:8 tells us clearly, “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It was for this reason that He came to earth in the humility of human form. The cross was His goal, to show the realness of sin and the kind of sacrifice only a God sized love would endure for those who would deny Him.
And now we, as His people, are asked to carry our own crosses. Jesus said, in fact, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). No, He is not asking us to hang on that cross as He was so willing to do. His calling to us is rather to do what we must to fulfill our calling as His disciples. Just as He was willing to do what needed to be done to bring salvation to His people, He asks us also to do what we can to save the lost.
Jesus said again in Matthew 10:38, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Our cross is shaped in the good works done out of a sincere faith. It is molded by the sacrifices we make so that others might come to the knowledge of the truth. Our crosses are prepared for us before we are ever born to be carried by those who are willing to put others before themselves.
Are you willing to carry your cross? If so, what are you prepared to do to fulfill the calling you have been given? All our sins were nailed to the same cross as our Savior. Out of a love we could never comprehend, He ignored the fact that He could call down a legion of angels to save Him because he knew to do any less would mean that we would be forever lost in our sins with only damnation as our final sentence. Trust in His sacrifice and come to carry your cross with a true faith. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your Son and for the great sacrifice You were willing to make on our behalf though we did little to deserve it. Strengthen our faith to always follow you will cross firmly latched. Amen.