The cross is a mystery. It is a mystery to me. There are moments when I see it in the crystal clear clarity and simplicity of my childhood, and others when it makes absolutely no sense at all. A lot of times I'm ashamed of my lack of reaction to it. I can sing songs, read verses, hear stories and feel........nothing.
And yet without it, I would have nothing.
The whole Gospel doesn't seem like something a human could have thought up, it's not really our style. When Peter got wind of the cross he couldn't believe his ears, “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” (Matthew 16 v 22). Jesus rebuked him strongly, telling him he was seeing things from people's perspective, not God's. It's hard for us to see things from God's perspective. It's not simple. I love how C.S Lewis thinks:
“It is no good asking for a simple religion. After all, real things are not simple. They look simple, but they are not. The table I am sitting at looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it is really made of – all the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them...................and of course, you find that what we call “seeing a table” lands you in mysteries and complications which you can hardly get to the end of.….Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect.…....Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed" (Mere Christianity).
Of course all our discussions, studies, debates, songs, sermons about the cross are important, and they have their place. But if I really want to see what it actually meant that Jesus died then I look at the lives of the people who live it out.
The ones who are filled with hope in the face of tragedyThe ones who risk their lives to tell others about JesusThe ones who are selfless in their love for othersThe ones who aren't afraid to dieThe ones who pick themselves up and try again when they have fallenThe ones who forgive the unforgivable.
The cross has completely altered our eternal future. But I pray that even when it is a mystery to me, the reality of the cross will completely alter the way I live today. And that the people around me would see it's power at work in me.