Sharing the Cross

A reading for Friday, June 13, 2014: Matthew 16:21-28.

One of my seminary professors used to remind us regularly, "The only thing faith in Jesus Christ promises for those that believe is a cross!" It was, and still could be a pretty depressing orientation to faith. At least that's what we used to think...

Jesus reminds the disciples that he would go to Jerusalem, be tried as a criminal, be beaten and abused, and finally crucified on a cross. Just as we would be, Peter is upset. “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But Jesus rebukes Peter for setting his mind on the wrong things and for misunderstanding the cross.

Truth is the cross is an image of who God is, and who we then were created to be as the image of God in the world. God is a giver, giving beyond what is even rational. Our creator God gives us life, and gives it abundantly. The reason we enjoy anything, or ever have a smile on our faces is a gift from God. Our savior God has come down from heaven to give us freedom from the burden of sin and death. If we live or if we die, we belong to Jesus Christ because of the gift of God. Our sustainer God continues to give even now. When we reach the end of our rope and feel as if we can go no further, it is the gift of God's presence that enables another step and a hopeful friend to encourage us. These are the gifts of God for the people of God... that's you and I. Our God is the ultimate giver.

The cross is so much more than just a depressing symbol of cruelty and sacrifice. The cross is the image of how much God is willing to give so that we might live in the knowledge of God and God's grace for all.

"The only thing faith in Jesus Christ promises for those that believe is a cross?" Thanks be to God that we might share in the cross of Christ.  


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