34 Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. (Mark 8:34-35)
The cross is so much more in the gospels than the implement of Jesus’ death. Jesus’ whole life is lived in the shape of the cross. What I mean, or rather, what I think Jesus means is that the cross is the place where the love of God is expressed in the power of giving up power. I am constantly amazed at how many places the are in the Scriptures (Old and New Testament) where God, the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the cosmos becomes weak and vulnerable in order to relate to the world God made. Sometimes this gets lost by all the other places in Scripture where God is presented in glory. But, ultimately, God wants to be found in one place and in one form, the cross.
Our questions this week might be, what does the cross mean for God as expressed in Jesus and how do the Scriptures bear witness to this? One way to get at this is to ask ourselves, what are the Biblical stories we think of when we think about God becoming vulnerable?
Then we may ask, what does it mean for us to take up the cross? I explored this a little in last week’s post. What vulnerabilities have been forced upon us and what ways have we made ourselves vulnerable for the sake of people we love? How does the idea of being vulnerable square with our society’s emphasis on strength and fixation on happiness? Does the cross cause us to reevaluate the meaning of happiness itself?
As you can see this text elicits a lot of questions. But, for me, this is what makes a Biblical text really powerful; it challenges us, shakes us up and forces us to question what we think we know about God and ourselves.
I invite your thoughts.