Wednesday, August 13, 2014
When He is lifted up
When He is lifted up on the cross, it is as if it were magnetized . . . we cannot take our eyes away. But our thoughts as we look, and our responses to that cross, are sometimes very different.
Some people look upon the cross through eyes of hatred and unbelief. As Christians, we may not realize it, but the vast majority of mankind does not look upon the cross as a sacrifice for their benefit, for their deliverance.
They look at the cross and the Savior as a symbol of power -- Someone or something that will control their lives, when they don't want to be controlled. The natural man wants to be "his own boss." Even to the point of being his own god. Here is what we mean: He (or she) wants to choose their own way without the interference of some higher power that dictates what is right or wrong, just or unjust. They hate anything or anyone that places limits or restrictions upon the will to sin. Men (and women) hate and reject anything that reminds them that they are not gods after all -- there truly is a higher Power and they must ultimately answer to it.
We can see that even when we are sinners and reject the death of Jesus upon the cross, we are still focused on it. Jesus' words are still true even for those who would deny Him. We are all drawn like a magnet to the cross, because God wants all of us to see what He has done, and have the opportunity to respond and be saved. Just like a bug drawn into the light, mesmerized by it, our souls are drawn to the true Light. The Holy Spirit catches our attention, takes hold of our hearts by the power of God, and pulls us toward the cross . . . then when we are at the foot of the cross, and looking up at Jesus, He asks us the same question Pilate voiced in Matthew 27: "What will you do with this Jesus?"
As some people look at the cross with hatred, some look upon it and feel disgust. They don't "see" the salvation that is offered to them, only a symbol of judgment and death. They don't like to be reminded of their sins, and they simply can't understand how the power of salvation can be connected to the death of this Man on a cross. It was a punishment for crimes! How can it possibly be a good thing, they wonder.
In actuality, the real meaning of the cross can only be seen and understood through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, and that in the heart of someone who is prepared to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. If a person is not ready to repent, or if their eyes are blinded by sin (and they still love that sin) they will not be able to see the cross for what it really is. They would just as soon forget about it. But God is so rich in mercy and grace that He grabs their attention for a moment, to bring their eyes to the cross; perhaps they will see the price that Jesus paid and accept His gift.
There are some, however, that look upon the cross and cry out in love and gratitude for the One who died for them. They realize that man killed God's own Son and they simply cannot comprehend the hatred that would do such a thing.
These are they who will focus upon the cross through eyes of worship and love for the Lord who hung there and paid the debt of our sin.
As Christians, we love God and we are constantly reminded of the price that Jesus paid for our sins. We believe that He is God and also our loving Savior. That is why we read our Bibles, pray, and do our best to live a life that is continually sanctifying us and that we hope will be pleasing to the Lord. Our hearts and minds are drawn to the cross and we can't help but thank Him. It is our desire to serve Him and do His will. It is our focus for the future to be in heaven in His presence -- the One who died for us on that cross.
The greatest joy we have in this life is when we see another soul come to Christ, and when we are privileged to encourage our sisters and brothers in their struggles.
The greatest joy we will have in the life to come will be in the realms of glory with every born again child of God, and with our Lord and Savior for eternity!