Symbols are all around us
Vying for our affection and allegiance
Nike. Wear this. You are legit
BMW –like a NISSAN only better
We put 26.2 on our car (or 0.0)
My kid’s an honor awesome super blah blah blah
An American flag
Our favorite football team
Because symbols are important
Symbols are symbolic of what we think is important
Symbols are also symbolic of our incessant need to be important
To be a winner
To scream at the end of life, “I didn’t waste my life.”
Then you have the cross
A foolish symbol
A symbol of defeat, loss, shame, hopelessness
Like walking around with a noose on your necklace
What are you doing with a noose?
I wear a cross often; a necklace really (pictured above)
It’s a rosary prayer bead from former Bosnia-Herzegovina
It reminds me that there is power and then there’s power
When it’s hanging in my car
Draped around my neck
squeezed in my hand at the hospital bed of the sick and dying
There’s power and there’s Power
Which brings me to the many verses in the NT regarding the cross (there are many)
Did you notice that they all talk about the cross but that they talk about the cross differently?
A verse about the cross and sin
The cross and righteousness
The cross and humility
The cross and reconciliation
The cross and sin
The cross and death
So which is it?
Cause it can’t be about more than one thing . . . can it?
The oldest view of the cross (according to people who study is this stuff) is a Latin Word that rolls off the tongue
It’s called Christus Victor
If there was ever a phrase worth tattooing on your body it’s
It means that Jesus started the death of death
Sin, shame, violence, evil … those are all death’s servants
Jesus came to end death. Of course he took of all death’s friends.
We’ve lived as slaves to the fear of death. And we’re sitting in a prison and the door’s not even locked.
Someone asked me a great question recently
Why do Catholics present a cross with Jesus still on it?
And why do we Protestants have a bunch of cross’s with no Jesus?
The answer is pretty simple.
The Catholic Church understands that Jesus is a Suffering Servant
And calls men and women to enter into the suffering of the world (think Mother Teresa)
Protestants know, historically speaking, Jesus didn’t stay on the cross
So both are right
It’s not this one or this one
The central enemy of God in scripture is the central enemy of God in real life
God’s central enemy is death and all his friends
Jesus knew this
It’s why he went out of his way to be life everywhere he went
You are hungry? If you don’t eat, you will die. Here’s bread
You are sick? If you are not healed, you will die. Here are new legs
Life oozed out of Jesus because God is life and Jesus is from God
So wear that cross
And don’t be afraid of death
Because death is dying
Haven’t you heard?