How did the Gospel message go from falling at the foot of The Cross where our sins are erased and where we abide in Jesus to the cross being just an event that allows us enter into heaven for eternity?
Don’t get me wrong The cross is the single most important event in history and when we accept Christ we do join with Him to eternity but that is not the main message Paul and other Biblical writers taught. In fact Paul talks about being on guard for anyone who was not preaching The Cross of Christ.
The Cross is not a a 3 day event or a stop on our journey. The Cross is everyday. Luke 9:23 says pick up your cross daily. We in the modern world have translated that into bearing the burdens of our lives as a sacrifice to Christ but that is not the contexts of what Jesus is talking about when he makes this statement.
Jesus has just sent his apostles out to preach the gospel and heal the sick*. They come back and can’t get away to talk, the multitudes follow and Jesus feeds them. Finally alone Jesus asks them who they think He is. Peter confesses He is the Christ. Jesus says not to tell and that some there will not taste death then talks about picking up the cross. Jesus talks about loosing our lives for the sake of His. The next scene is Mt of transfiguration. There was no real suffering or trial in this passage regarding picking up the cross, there was revelation.
When we think of picking up our cross we think of Chris under its weight on the way to be crucified but Christ is talking about the foot of The Cross where it IS FINISHED. Christ tells them to bear The Cross, which is new life and realization of who He is and then transfiguration. Not the battle of daily burdens.
Picking up the cross daily is choosing Christ. It is choosing His ways vs ours. It is accepting the new creation and letting the old one wither away. The only burden in this is that it is hard to put self aside daily. It is hard to believe daily that our past holds no power, that we are new creations. It is hard to believe daily the truth of GOD’s love over the whispers of the enemy. It is hard to make Christ the center all day when there is work, wants, glittery things, dreams of our own, expectations of what we deserve. But most of all it is hard to live in the transfiguration moment. It is hard to live from Heaven while planted on earth. We know Jesus prayer for us and the world was “On earth as it is in Heaven” but what that looks like is virtually impossible to explain. It is one of those things you just know when it happens. A had to be there kind of moment.
So the question is, are we going to be there in that moment? Are we at the foot of The Cross screaming at the top of our spiritual lungs, “YOU ARE THE CHRIST” which leads us to be transfigured or are we going though the motions of living a Christian life where we have stripped The Cross of its power by relegating it to something that happened in history and a thing we use to describe the stuff in our lives we think sucks while we dream of the sweet by and by?
* Why is it that everytime Jesus talks about preaching the gospel He also says heal the sick? Why have we eliminated that from our expectation? Why is healing something we get excited when it happens but not a standard we live to expect?