Jan. 9, 2019

Cross Purposes 29 / Insurrection To Resurrection And Beyond

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20

 “Were you there when they crucified my Lord, 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

Oh... Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”

So asks the old spiritual. Profoundly simple. Simply profound! It asks us to look deeply into the mystery that is the cross. So, what do you say, dear reader, in answer to this question? Were you there? Do you know you were there?

Indeed, mysteriously, the cross is my story. It is your story. It is everyone’s story, in our Lord Jesus - if we can only see it as such.

At first glance, we may only see the cross in historical and physical terms. It has always been seen as a device of torture and execution from the ancient world. People who perceive the cross only in this way often ask, “Why do you wear a crucifix? It’s a very negative symbol.” But is it really just that? Or is there something more?

The natural history of the symbol is not really the issue. The supernatural history of the cross of Jesus Christ is the issue! The question really remains a spiritual one: was I there, were you there - when they crucified our Lord? How do you see yourself in relationship to that cross?

The cross was a place where crime and insurrection ended, in no uncertain terms, as far as the occupational forces of Rome were concerned in any land the empire conquered. These brutal crucifixions were public events, reminders to all about who ruled the roost and what would happen to trouble making dissenters.

Does that ring any bells, strictly from the perspective of the cross being the place where rebellion ends? Let’s explore further.

Even the cross’s natural and repugnant use depicts something to us about our own ancient skeletons in the closet. In the beginning, we were the insurrectionists, complicit in a cosmic coup set against our Heavenly Father, His Kingdom, and His divine plan for our uninterrupted eternal Good. 

Someone was insanely jealous of this Kingdom and those created to occupy, administrate, and enjoy it. Ultimately our first parents were “tricked” through this very cunning, hateful, and jealous adversary into rebellion. 

They fell for the Serpent’s treachery and swallowed his tempting idea. They were complicit in a crime against all humans - the first crime against humanity. How sweet that first bite of fruit must have seemed to Eve, then to Adam. Yet how hard and fast the plunge into captivity - meaning a fall into sin and death. Power over us was handed over to our adversary the Evil One. Not just for the Primal Parents, but over the whole human race for that day forward.

They certainly bit off more than they could chew!

You can laugh at this if you want to, but the rest, as they say, is history. This is the real reason things have gone the way they have, since the children of God were tricked into surrendering their birthright and their world to the Evil One and fallen beings who followed him. We were coerced into a rebellion against our Father and against ourselves. Crazy, isn’t it? But it’s been the pattern ever since. We were essentially sold into captivity for something temporary and tasty.

Yet our Heavenly Father’s unconditional and everlasting love is such that He provided a Way for us to be free. He could not bear to see His children taken captive, imprisoned, blinded, programmed, maimed, crippled, and enslaved to this arch fiend and his hordes!

The Father enacted a plan, along with His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Granted the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit, we perceive ourselves crucified, dead, and more importantly resurrected to new life in the Redemptive Act of our Lord Jesus Christ! 

Surrendering ourselves and our will to Him (by the power of the Holy Spirit) on an ongoing basis, we are set free from sin (and its wages - death), self, and Satan! We are granted not only a pardon but the gift of a whole new state of being. We are restored to fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

Jesus Christ Himself, the perfect and spotless Lamb of God, took upon Himself our sin and put it to death on the cross. His blood paid the ransom on our heads, so we could walk away free of the stranglehold of darkness, into a whole new life!

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) 

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) 

Restoration to full sonship - becoming the righteousness of God - is the intended path of salvation!

In other words He, the One Who was sinless, took upon Himself our sin-full  rebelliousness and its results. He crucified these in His own body on the cross. We - the human former insurrectionist component of that ancient coup - can therefore say with a resounding yes, that we were there when they crucified our Lord!

We can then re-affirm every day,  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Thanks be to God! Jesus took upon Himself the burden of all the sin of humanity, from the beginning of time to the end of all things, put it to death in the cross, and offers His own new Resurrected Life to us through the Holy Spirit. 

So we revisit the question, were you there when they crucified my Lord? Do you see yourself - with the eyes of faith - dead through that cross but made alive through His resurrection? And more than this, were you there when He rose up from the dead? The answer should be a resounding yes!

May the Holy Spirit open to us the inner seeing of His supernatural faith - to perceive His remarkable gift, receive it, and live our life forever within this new reality, now and throughout all eternity.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but that’s an offer I can’t refuse - Jesus has taken me from insurrection to resurrection and beyond! Thanks be to our God and Father for His unfathomable love for us all! May our eyes be open to perceive, receive, and live in the newness of His life!