I spoke recently at a local shelter for homeless men. I asked those there, “What do you think of when you see a cross?” The answers were much of what you would expect. One man said, “church”, while another replied, “Jesus’ death.”

What do you think of when you see the cross?

I would like to propose a different perspective, a new way to look at the cross: instead of seeing it as the instrument of Jesus’ death, I invite you to look at it as a symbol of the life you are called to live.

Jesus was used to having people try to pin Him into a corner. In the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, he records where three such groups, the Herodians, Sadducees, and Pharisees all tried to trip Him up on technicalities. In the discourse with the Pharisees, Matthew recounts:

Matthew 22:34–40 (NKJV)
34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  

Later in Matthew 28, after His resurrection, He appears to His apostles and gives them one final direction:

Matthew 28:18–20 (NKJV)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.  

So the Lord Jesus Christ gives us, his followers, three basic commands we are to follow:
Love the Lord with all that we are
  2. L
ove others as we would want to be loved if we were in their place
Go, make disciples, teaching them what Jesus has commanded us to do

I invite you to look at these three in relationship to the cross. The first command relates to our relationship with the Lord. This relationship is vertically oriented from us heavenward. Clearly, the strength of this is at the heart of everything we do. It supports the whole of our life, and gives meaning to all we do. 

So as you look to the cross, I pray that you will see it in a new perspective, not primarily about the Lord’s death, but rather as a reminder of the life that He calls us to live.

May you be blessed.

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