As we look to the cross prior to the resurrection of Jesus Christ we must realize what held Christ to the cross. The nails were not the thing holding Jesus to the cross, but it was His great love for us that held Him there. In John 10:18 Jesus says, 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” Jesus shared these words of truth right after giving us the assurance that the shepherd is watching over the sheep and we are the sheep of His pasture. He also shared that He was laying down His life for the sheep…..willingly. So, it was Love, not Nails holding our Savior on the cross, because He could have come down if wanted to. But in order to pay the debt that we owed He stayed all the way through.
This is a wonderful picture of dedication, love, and being a great finisher. Oh, that we would exhibit these same attributes as mirrors to the sacrifice of Jesus. That is actually the Lord’s call to each of us as He says in Luke 9:23 23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. We aren’t asked to get on a cross ourselves, but take up the burden of sacrifice and live for Jesus. Our cross is a cross of service and sharing the message of Christ. This is the call Jesus made to the original disciples in Matthew 4:19 And He said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” He called them straight out of the vocation they were in at the time and “rocked the world” with them taking up their crosses and following Him.
Jesus does the same today as He calls each of us to a commitment of love that shows the heart of our Savior. His heart is best seen by sharing our faith and sharing what He did on the cross for you and for me. We need no nails to nail that commitment down, just a willing heart that is open to the Savior’s call. If all those who call the name of Jesus would just lean into Him and let Him teach you, you would be forever changed. The world would hear the gospel and salvation would be realized by those who didn’t know of Jesus and His great forgiveness. May we never forget what Jesus did on the cross and keep that image fresh in our minds as we try to decide whether to serve Him as He calls or turn a deaf ear. There is no movement without the cross and there is no cross without the Love of God. Read the story below and see just how important the cross is to you.
The government of Polish Prime Minister Jaruzelski had ordered crucifixes removed from classroom walls, just as they had been banned in factories, hospitals, and other public institutions. Catholic bishops attacked the ban that had stirred waves of anger and resentment all across Poland. Ultimately the government relented, insisting that the law remain on the books, but agreeing not to press for removal of the crucifixes, particularly in the schoolrooms.
But one zealous Communist school administrator in Garwolin decided that the law was the law. So one evening he had seven large crucifixes removed from lecture halls where they had hung since the school’s founding in the twenties. Days later, a group of parents entered the school and hung more crosses. The administrator promptly had these taken down as well.
The next day two-thirds of the school’s six hundred students staged a sit-in. When heavily armed riot police arrived, the students were forced into the streets. Then they marched, crucifixes held high, to a nearby church where they were joined by twenty-five hundred other students from nearby schools for a morning of prayer in support of the protest. Soldiers surrounded the church. But the pictures from inside of students holding crosses high above their heads flashed around the world. So did the words of the priest who delivered the message to the weeping congregation that morning. “There is no Poland without a cross.”
There is no resurrection without Christ, first of all, going to the cross and giving His life. May we always remember the love He showed and keep in mind it was that love that held Him on the cross. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
The Pilgrimage continues….