July 15, 2011

τοῦ σταυρός

τοῦ σταυρός [tou stauros]: The Cross

I have been hammering away through the Chirstology class and the Prison Epistles over the summer like a carpenter hammering nails into wood and sweating over his work. In my single-minded focus I have tried to assure continuity and flow of the interpretations until I've reached John and Philemon respectively. Many of the Gospel and Epistle examinations have been from odd angles or not so run-of-the-mill thought processes but this is intentional. Mostly this has been done to get people to see Christ in some of it when I write about it in this blog. I want people to see the New Testament anew.

Occasionally in the intense focus, figuratively sweat gets in my eyes and I am forced to stop the task at hand to wipe the blur and when I do I see some of what I have already observed in depth from a new "angle". Such is the case of the Cross. I cannot ignore or neglected Jesus as I push, pull and wrestle with the Gospels or Paul's letters. I uncover Jesus everywhere. I needed to break up the tedium of Israel's failure, repentance, failure, repentance so I chose to do a list of paradoxes of the cross of Jesus Christ. It is where the entire Bible converges anyway...on Jesus.

First, when I say the cross I mean Jesus Christ because it is the work that Christ did on the cross that saves all of humanity not the wood of the cross or the iron nails themselves. For the purpose of this examination I will treat them synonymously. Secondly, when I say antithetical parallels I mean that some things are or appear to be made out of opposing forces/opposing sides or what appear as apparent contradictions when in reality they are not contradictory at all, they actually compliment one another. The idea and fulfillment of the cross may defy human intuition but the idea of a cross as salvation is perfect in its irony and isn't of human origin, is it? Some of the following statements by their nature are paradoxical and can often times appear at odds but if they are anything they end up being ironic in their profound truth. They make us sit back as believers and say, "YEEEEAAHHHH, that was awesome!" or "Ida never imagined that in a million years, whodda guessed?". God would have and did. As God has clearly stated in the Bible:

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." ~Isaiah 55:8-9

The Cross...A place where the differences between the holiness and divinity of God comes together with the sinfulness and fallen nature of man.

The Cross...Where the most infamous instrument of torture, defeat and death is transformed through a Divine act of metamorphosis into the ultimate symbol of victory & life

The Cross...It is simultaneously a symbol of God's holiness and love while also being the outpouring of His justice and His wrath towards the sin of humanity.

The Cross...In the end it will be seen as the ultimate symbol of peace for man's eternal soul while at the same time it is the ultimate symbol of violence and hostility towards the evil of sin.

The Cross...physically absorbed the blood of the beaten and crucified Savior just as the Savior absorbed the sins of men beaten and defeated by sin with His blood.

The Cross...Where one payment of blood propitiation sacrificed by one God-man in one day balances the debt on an entire history of sin for all of eternity.

The Cross...It is the location of the death of Christ in human form and is the birth of eternal life for humans in The Kingdom form.

The Cross...It is where man goes to drop off his sin in exchange for the righteousness Jesus left there for us to pick up in return.

The Cross...All of the Old Testament theology and converges at the cross. All of the theology of the New Testament diverges after the cross.

The Cross...Is where all of the shadows and typologies of the suffering servant of the Old Testament become flesh and all of the sins of the flesh can become shadow.

The Cross...It was where justice was metered out to a just God-man unjustly so that the measure of an unjust man would be viewed justly and righteously by God.

The Cross...Where the Jewish patriarch's become more than just Jewish examples of faith, they become Christian examples of faith too.

The Cross...Where the Eternal Lamb of the Gospels (entire Bible) visually and historically becomes the Eternal Lion of Judah in Revelation so that, in the end, the lion can lay down with the lamb.

The Cross...Where the pain of the suffering servant is exchanged for the exaltation of the Father.

The Cross...Where humanity has the choice to stop being slaves to sin and become free In Christ and to serve Him for His glory and our reward.

The Cross...It contained three nails that restricted the movement of Jesus while He was still alive, just as the sin of men, who put Christ on the cross, restricted them from truly being free in the Lord. Jesus overcame it all, sin, nails and even death. The three nails that temporarily imprisoned Jesus' body to the cross gives us freedom and liberty eternally.

Okay, lets stop here, take a breather and ponder the nails for a second before I wrap this up...

From a purely geometric point of view a cross is literally where two paths or lines meet at perpendicular angles completely opposed to one another to form a single object. Let me restate that: "It is a union of two entities converging on single point physically and chronologically". An image of reconciliation of two objects at variance with one another. A union where a flawed creation is allowed to come in relationship with a perfect Creator God. That meeting point or union where these two things cross over is firmly planted in righteousness and holiness through justification. A righteousness that is imputed through the work of the cross and the flawed creation accepting that fact.

It is more than ironic that all of these antithetical examples are mostly examples of things that overlap nearly at odds with one another but yet they meet at a crossroads of sorts. Through God's infinite mercy and grace even the most divergent people can meet and find unity in the cross. This isn't the product of man's plans or mans imagination. How could it be? It is so profound that it could only be something that was revealed to man not created or imagined by him. The cross is also a crossroad in that: when a person reaches the cross they have to make a decision "left" or "right" at the cross it is "righteous" or "unrighteous", "Heaven" or "Hell", "saved" or "unsaved". What a person cannot do is not make a decision. After the cross we will continue to make these types of decisions also as we navigate a world that is always tempting us to make decisions that are the unrighteous ones in our wandering path of sanctification and pursuit of holiness.

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