To Live Is Death, To Die Is Life

Beaten bloody, beyond recognition. Muscles and flesh torn from the body. Pain so agonizing breath is impossible. Weakness, broken beyond the ability to stand. Forced to carry over 100 pounds only to have that weight used to hang you by sharp nails. Beaten, bleeding and suffocating under your own weight as you hang by nails driven through your flesh. 
The image of the cross in not pretty, it’s not idealistic or whimsical as we like to imagine. It’s not the small trinket made of precious metal and beautiful stones w. enchanting engravings that we decorate our homes, churches and necks with. It was a horrible, torturous, agonizing death that anyone familiar w Roman execution tried to forget. It was not our “humane” capital punishment; the purpose was to force people into obedience through fear. First century Christians were so appalled or terrified of the idea of crucifixion or a cross that they avoided using these words, instead phrases like “stretch out your hands” were used to skirt the idea.

2000 years later, living in a period where the humanity of everything is taken into consideration, we rarely, if ever, take the cross at face value. Mel Gibson’s The Passion, breached this subject, but Hollywood can only go so far in portraying true suffering. Nevertheless the point of the matter is that the cross was utterly horrible, unbelievably painful and completely unprovoked.

Unprovoked? Yes, unprovoked. Christ, God, died on a cross for a punishment that was not His own. He did it to save you and me from sin. And what does He ask in return from believers? That we should live like Christ and show His love to the world. So many believers walk around believing they are showing the love of Christ but when someone offends them, or cheats them, or hurts them or even cuts them off in traffic, what do they do? I’ll be the first to admit, I get angry. When someone hurts me, especially my pride, my immediate thought is “I hope they get what they gave me right back but worse.” THAT is definitely not showing Christ’s love.

Christ came to this earth, stepped out of heaven, his home, where there is no sin, death, pain or suffering and came to this earth for what? To be ridiculed, spat at, ignored, lied about, beaten, tortured and killed for you. He did that all because He loved you soooo much that He was willing to do whatever it took to be able to have a relationship with you. It took His blood, so He gave it. Are you willing to do that for someone? Do you love anyone other than yourself enough to give up your life for them? We can even start w the easy ones, people you know you love, your family and friends? Do you die to yourself for their sake every day? Are you willing to tell someone you love them and forgive them when they’ve very obviously wronged you and require nothing, nothing! not an apology, not even a promise they will never do whatever it is they did to you again? That is what Christ did. He died for us and yet every day we nail Him back up on that cross with our pride, our self-righteousness, our anger and our hatred. He asked us to love as He does.

This whole line of thought stemmed from reading Ted Dekker’s The Heaven Trilogy and I’ve got to tell you, it’s been very convicting. It’s made me rethink what it means to love as Christ loves and what it should look like in my life. I feel a make-over coming on. What about you?

2 Comments:

  1. Very well said, Kristen. This same man, “beaten bloody, beyond recognition,” his body nailed to a cross enduring a slow and painful death, had unimaginable power. He could have called down fire upon the Samaritan town that rejected him (Luke 9:54); he could have asked his Father to send twelve legions of angels to spare him from crucifixion (Matthew 26:53). He is powerful, indeed – powerful enough to make the blind see and the crippled to walk, to cast out demons, to bring the dead back to life, to bring those dead in sin to conversion, and to rise from the dead never to die again. And he will come again in glory, that the faithful may share in this risen life. ..

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