-from the Pastor’s Heart—
The Ways of the Cross To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21 (NIV)
The Apostle Peter suggests that what Jesus did in his death is what you are to do with your life. The death of Jesus is to be your path. When Christ took your place on the cross he absorbed your pain, and now the church, as a cross-formed community, is to be a Pain Absorbing People. Embracing the cross as a way of life requires massive amounts of courage. It is not natural to seek out burdens meant for others and to take them as our own. We can’t take the place of others in the same way that Christ did. What Peter is saying is that “we purposefully seek out those in the world who are in pain and then live in their presence in such a way that relief results.” They get better; we get worse—substitution. Foster or adoptive parents, in taking another’s child into their home, must be prepared to absorb much. These stand-in, substitute parents, as a way of life, absorb the pain, obligation, responsibility, and trouble due another. It’s their job. It’s our job. (Johh.15:13) These are what Jesus was accomplishing on his cross:
- Substitution: Jesus was absorbing our pain by taking our place.
- Redemption: Jesus was paying the price for our freedom.
- Reconciliation: Jesus was making peace between God and His creation.
- Christus Victor: Jesus was securing victory over sin, darkness, and death.
- Submission: Jesus was submitting to the will of His Father. -from Living Sacrifice—The Cross as a Way of Life, Robert Gelinas
These same five are part-&-parcel of the cross you and I carry: individualized to a degree, but with the same Ways and Results for every one of us. (What was the phrase last week, “Individually all together!” 🙂 May God grant us the willingness to respond to the call of a living sacrifice and grant us grace to follow “in his steps.” -Pastor Gary