A few days ago I blogged about a video David produced from "In Rejection of Mediocrity". The video was titled, "It's about the Cross". I asked the question in my title, "Have we forgotten anything?" I've been thinking a lot about this and wanted to go a little deeper into this question. I think some of the deep spiritual significance of the Cross has been lost in our post-modern world. This is troubling to me and I hope to you. The Cross holds in it two very opposite truths and realities.
- The Cross demonstrates some of the most sinful actions of men.
- The Cross demonstrates that God can work through even the most sinful actions to accomplish his perfect plan.
To begin with, we read in Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured thecross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
To the one who endured the Cross, the radical optimism was the joy awaiting him on the other side of it. Jesus no more wanted to be nailed to this cross anymore than we would want to. He pleaded with His father in the garden of Gethsemane that he would allow the plan to be diverted. Let's take plan B as I don't think I can do this! We all know that God had no plan B. The way for all men to be reconciled to God was through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Because of the joy that was before Him, Christ found radical optimism in the Cross.
Another part of the radical optimism of the cross rests in the what Jesus said in John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me."
Jesus knew He was the answer to man's sin problem. And He still is today. Remove from the Christian faith the Cross and we have no faith at all. It is foundational to our faith.
The radical optimism of the cross was that we would accept the substitutionary death of Christ and pick up our own cross to carry.
Matthew 16:24 issues the challenge, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
The radical optimism of the Cross beckons us to a life of service unto God. Paul writing to the Corinthians in his first letter to them writes in 2:2, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."
I think what Paul was interested in knowing with this statement is, "Has the radical optimism of the cross changed your life? That was the important factor for Paul. Has the power and glory of the Cross, changed you?
Today some consider the Cross of Jesus Christ as something too gory to talk about at church. It's just too ugly of an event to spend much time on. Somehow the Cross has become offensive to many Christians. It's ok if it's reduced to a piece of ornamental jewelry we showcase around our neckline but that's it.
What happened to telling the story of a Savior who died a horrible death for all of humanity? Why have many churches steered away from preaching the cross? Paul even said in 1Corinthians 1:18, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
Could this be true? Is the power of God held in whether or not the cross is preached? I think it is. The power of God is demonstrated in the Cross. God took such horrible acts of sin and made it a wonderful gift to all humanity! Only God could do that and it demonstrates to us all the radical optimism God saw in the cross!
Do you see the radical optimism of the cross?