Monday, August 28, 2006

Cross Character

A man's attitude as he approaches death ought to be a cameo of his life's character. Consider the impetuous cry of Horatio Nelson, the unstinting commitment of Robert Scott, the optimistic vision of Martin Luther King, and so on.

Now think about the attitude of Jesus of Nazareth as he hung upon a Roman cross. John 19:25-27 provide a good summary.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother; his mother's sister; Mary Cleophas and Mary Magdalene. Seeing his mother and his beloved disciple [John], Jesus said to his mother, "Madam, look, this is your son." Then he addressed his disciple, "Look, this is your mother." So from then on, that disciple accepted her into his own family.

Three great virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ were also displayed in his followers at the cross.

  1. devotion
  2. care
  3. obedience


If the Son of God had not been devoted to his Father, then he would never have gone to the cross. But his unquestioning devotion had brought him to Calvary, and would take him through Calvary.

Some of his closest acquaintances were so devoted to him that they followed him to Calvary and stood by him, even in that place. At Calvary, it was not only shameful to be associated with Jesus of Nazareth, it was also dangerous. How little stigma is attached to his Company in 21st century western society!


If the Son of God had not cared for us, then he would never have gone to the cross. But because he loved a world of helpless and hopeless humans, he died so that we could have our sins forgiven through faith in him.

It is clear from his words that he expects his followers to show the same self-denying care - first to one another ("This is how all men will know you are my followers, when you love one another" was his advice) and then to the world at large ("love your enemies" was his most stark and difficult command).


"He became obedient to the point of death, and that a cross death." Marvel at the extent of his obedience to God the Father! Without that obedience, we would never be able to pay the price for our disobedience to God. But the Bible clearly teaches that his obedience more than compensates for our disobedience, (as ever, with the "by faith" disclaimer!).

His clear expectation on the cross was that his followers would carry out his dying requests in loving obedience to him. His commands still stand today. And obedience is still expected. The first command "You must be born again!" is prerequisite to all others ... faith is fundamental to following Him. With that foundation, we can exhibit devotion to duty, care for others, obedience to God - just like Him.

No comments: