What is the cross?
According to our good friend, Dictionary.com, the cross is “a structure consisting essentially of an upright and a transverse piece, used to execute persons in ancient times … upon which Jesus died,” but we know there’s more to the cross, don’t we?
We know that following Jesus requires taking up something more than an “upright and transverse piece,” but can we go on to describe what this “something more” is?
“Often, Christians will over-spiritualize the cross,” VOM speaker and In the Shadow of the Cross instructor, Greg Musselman explains. “The cross was actually a very gritty and deeply disturbing reality.”
When Jesus died on the cross, he was subjected to death as a traitor—yet Jesus knew no sin. Though Jesus had betrayed no man or state, he experienced suffering more agonizing than the worst traitor.
It is into this suffering that Jesus calls us to follow him.
As Christians, we should not be shocked when we experience suffering for the sake of Christ. Suffering and persecuted are promised to us by scripture. Voluntary suffering is essential to being a Christian. Through it, God accomplishes something that can’t be learned any other way.
Many Christians grimace at this thought.
We would much rather be presented scriptures like James 4:2; scriptures like Matthew 16:24-26 make us feel uncomfortable. (which is why we over-spiritualize them). This is why, as Greg Musselman says, “many Christians want Jesus, but they don’t want the cross.”
But Christ himself chose to climb onto the cross; we, as his servants, cannot insist he remove himself—or us—from it.
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