“The cross effects its ends by destroying one established pattern, the victim’s, and creating another pattern, its own. Thus it always has its way. It wins by defeating its opponent and imposing its will upon him. It always dominates. It never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. It cares not for peace; it cares only to end its opposition as fast as possible.” ~ A.W. Tozer,
Jesus Christ knew all these things about the cross when He pleaded, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 (NIV).
As Jesus looked toward the cross He knew the cost. He rightly anticipated the pain involved in dying a cruel death normally reserved for criminals. For this reason He begged his father to allow Him to escape the cross, although He quickly added His willingness to conform to God’s will. Two verses later Luke says that Jesus was earnestly praying in anguish, so much so that great drops of sweat fell like blood to the ground.
I am comforted by these portrayals of Jesus as He faced crucifixion. I am comforted knowing that He experienced a full range of human emotions. I am comforted knowing that the matter of the cross wasn’t easy, even for Him. I am comforted in realizing that He does not ask of me anything that He himself hasn’t already experienced.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV).
What of This Cross?
What of this cross that lies across my way,
imploring that myself I should betray?
It reeks of putrid death; foreshadows pain.
Is that my name engraved across its grain?
What of this cross? I find it interferes
with plans, belongings, all that I hold dear.
Must every precious treasure be laid down?
Is there indeed no other way around?
What of this cross that emulates my Lord’s,
yet sparks among my loved ones such discord?
Fighting, dissension, arguments, and hate
-this cross does not bring peace, but separates.
What of this cross that makes my footsteps halt?
I must decide to die or to default;
Every allegiance I must now disown;
take up this cross, and carry it alone.
This cross I’ll bear and boast of only He
who leads the way and spilled His blood for me.
I shall not hesitate nor breathe a sigh;
but gain my life when Self commits to die.
Today I am "preparing for Easter" along with Ann Voskamp and her friends at Holy Experience. I hope you will take time to visit her and check out some other posts on this topic.