Thursday, April 17, 2014

There’s More To The Cross Than The Cross

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-jesus-christ-s-hand-image18532922

The only problem I have with this is that if it were just about spilling innocent and sinless blood Jesus could have been taken out in the story so much easier and so much more anonymously. He could have, for example, simply been extinguished with the swipe of a sword from Herod’s soldiers as they rampaged through the region attempting genocide on children two years old and below. Had they gotten to Jesus his innocent, sinless blood would have been shed.

Perhaps the cross is telling us a lot more about God than we might think.

The wide arc of the Bible is the long story of God with us. If you take people out of the Bible you don’t really have much. If you take God out of the Bible you also have very little. Because the history and poetry and prophecy and letters are all telling a story that can only lead us to believe that God in all His endlessness is endlessly trying to pursue a connectedness to His creation. He seems to want to be with us. He seems to want the connection. Perhaps the greatest mystery in all of this is why?

Maybe it’s much more profound and simple than we let it be. Maybe it’s just because He loves us and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Maybe He loves us enough that after working through every conceivable and cultural attempt at reminding us of who we are and who He is He actually comes to us as one of us…..and He stays.

The Jesus story has to be more than just a sinless Godman coming to brutally die. He could have died differently. Jesus stayed. And as we watch the narratives in the Gospels unfold we begin to see a person that we fall in love with but beneath all of that we begin to see the grit and grime of humanity under His fingernails.

Jesus was born to an unwed mother. Jesus learned to talk while His family was on the run like refugees. Jesus grew up learning how to survive and struggle. Jesus continually had His identity attacked. Jesus had to defend Himself. Jesus was kind and popular but made plenty of enemies. Jesus had people undermining Him constantly and plotting against Him. Jesus suffered the emotional pain of betrayal. Jesus suffered the brutality of lies and false accusations being screamed into His face like an abusive husband or wife or parent. Jesus was physically abused. Jesus was emotionally abused. Jesus was tortured. Jesus was executed. Jesus died.

For all of the good and beautiful moments in Jesus life, He also faced the dark side of humanity fully. And if Jesus is God, then this is God we’re talking about here. God experienced these things.

Maybe Jesus hanging from that cross and gasping for breath tells us a lot more about God than we ever realized. Perhaps it’s a final statement. An indelible mark on humanity. Maybe God is telling us through Jesus that there is nothing that we can ever face or endure that He doesn’t have deep and intimate experience with personally.

And maybe it’s time to turn back from the things that are destroying us and look to the cross and remember this. God knows. He knows more about being a human than any of us who are alive right now. He knows what it’s like to suffer and die young. Many of us have been suffering plenty. Perhaps it’s time to stop blaming Him. Maybe He didn’t do it. Maybe we did. Maybe humanity is the culprit. Because if humanity can nail an innocent person to a cross after savaging Him then maybe we’re more to blame for the suffering than God would ever be. Maybe it’s time to let all that go. Because it’s only in the death of something that the resurrection of something is even possible.

May we leave behind what has kept us from Jesus and join Him in His resurrection that we might finally live again.

Thoughts?

  • Kenneth Hickman

    As always you leave me thinking long after I’ve read what you’ve written !

    • http://www.brianhardin.com/ Brian Hardin

      Thanks Kenneth

      • Cornell

        I c ould not agree with you more Brian.the greatest story is the resurrection itself and that all things are possible with God!the Lord our God took me to The Cross 3 different times so then I would truly know the reality, the fact that this really happened…it was very, very hard to see what I saw, but I was never the same thereafter.I have a deep relationship with our living Lord and God who has been my Rabbi, teaching me one on one!the Lord came that we might live and abundantly but we must pick up our crosses and follow Him. our flesh becomes crucified and dies…we are raised from the dead to live eternally with our Lord and our God… We become a new creation. A new beginning in and through Christ…this is where our lives truly begin… Praise God!

  • Linda

    That is a lasting picture and deep impression that the reason God chose the cross for Jesus’ death could be that in this way He could show us the dimension of how far he would go for us then and every day, “gasping for breath” He would be there to fight for our souls to the end because that is how much he wants to be able to be with us!

  • Rick N

    Brian
    I was on a vacation two years ago and as I arrived at the airport I was taken over by terrible stomach pains. Long story short, I arrived at a Catholic hospital ER. In each room above the door was a crucifix with Jesus on it. I’ve always thought this to be wrong because Jesus is no longer on the cross. He is risen ! However, what you have described here hits my heart in a place that was closed to this concept. Your observation on the fact that it was God hanging on the cross and He does understand all that we suffer and more. Thank you for that insight. And praise God for His Holy Spirit living in us.

  • Pamelanne

    Thank you Brian. You give me new insights as I am reading this on Christmas eve. God bless you!

  • Nancy Schrankel Rodriguez

    Powerful, thought provoking. Sharing…

  • Candace Adams

    Brian, you have affirmed what God has revealed to me over the past two years. Yes, it has taken that long for me to realize exactly what you’ve stated here. God is a God of relationship! In all His omniscience, surely He knew man was going to fall. He could have said, “Nope, I’m NOT doing it! I’m not creating man only to rebel against me.” But no, even before the foundations of the earth were laid, The Trinity had a plan for redemption! This is not the place to share my story, but Christ’s story… but after having lost our husband/father (to the enemy), having lost everything including our home, car, health insurance, friends, church, our community (as we had to flee for our own safety) it was then that we began to see the true story played out in our own lives like a theatrical play of sorts. We began to see that no matter what material or social loss we suffered, Christ also knew that poverty. No matter what humiliation we suffered for something that we did not call down on ourselves, Christ knew a far greater humiliation. God revealed to us and still reveals to us on a daily basis that if we have HIM, we have EVERYTHING! He has seen in our loss, our homelessness, our struggle to rebuild and HE has been with us through it all! Christ truly has walked in the furnace with us! Our perspectives have been corrected from the worldly perspective to the spiritual perspective. And we, who have not always handled our situation well, have asked why He should continue to provide for us and draw us closer? The answer is so simple… He LOVES us and He wants us with Him – to know Him – as He intended it to be from the beginning! We have most certainly realized there is NOTHING we have suffered that Christ didn’t suffer and on a scale we just cannot fathom! So we look up to Him for our support and direction. There is no comparison to His suffering, but in our weakness we are found in HIS strength, in Christ we have found our identity in HIM, and in Christ we have victory in HIS death, resurrection and ascension! He did that not do that for a nebulous of “people”… He did it for me, Candace, and you, Brian, and for every other by name! The passion and the cross, so sadly, was necessary to make unmistakable the gravity of His plan that He didn’t have to carry out at all. He could have scrapped it all…