Love From The Cross
From the birth of sin, mankind had to have a way to remove sin. The people of God would burn sacrifices to the Lord and would atone for what they had done. A different type of sacrifice would be burnt for different occasions, and the spilling of blood would take away the stain of sin, and that offering would remove the sins from the people. The sacrifice would be made with a young animal that had no birth defects, and the animal had to be strong and whole. God wanted the people to give up their best to receive the best from Him. He showed them the way to come into communion with Him—God wanted to be close to His people. God, being the God of love and mercy, wanted His people to walk the road of His love and His mercy. But no matter what God did for them, they still found a way to rebel, they still found a way to separate themselves from the Holy One.
The Ark of the Covenant would sit in the Holy of Holies, and only one man was allowed to enter in past the massive veil that separated God from His creation. (Just imagine the enormity of the veil, as they needed oxen to pull it back because of its size and weight.) The concept that the Israelites of Moses’ time thought of God as an abstract and faraway idea – of dwelling upon the mountaintop, that God was a god of wrath and swift justice. The people feared God, but still they rebelled. It was not until God sent His Son to be the final sacrifice, the whole, and perfect sacrifice that creation was reunited with the Creator. With the death of Jesus on the cross, the veil that separated God from everyone else was torn into two.
Christ reunited us with Himself. The book of Hebrews tells us: …When Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Jesus became the perfect High Priest—He not only offered the sacrifice for the atonement of sins—He offered Himself as that offering. How many of us would lay down our lives for a family member? How about a friend? How about a stranger? But, the hardest would be laying down one’s life for an enemy. The blood of Christ washed away the power of sin and His death defeated the only hold Satan had over us—the power of death. And, His resurrection pulled us up from the depths of hell itself into His presence.
His sacrifice gave us the blessing and the strength to come to Him and His glory. God knew that there was no amount of blood or ash that could reunite mankind unto Himself. He knew that there was no priest that ever loved or would live that could do what His Son could do. As a father, I could not imagine the pain of watching my only son dying. If someone was trying to hurt my child I would do everything I could to save him—I would be willing to kill someone who was trying to kill my son. The excruciating pain that God the Father must of felt watching His Own Son die. I know that I try to be a loving person, and the pains that I feel when I see the world in chaos is so small compared to the Author and Fashioner of Love.
We, the people of God, are called not to rule over anyone, but to serve. Many times in our churches and our governments the rulers of those organizations forget where they once were. The priest forgets he was once the altar boy, the policemen forgets he/she was once the troublemaker, the teachers forget they were once the student. We are sinners, we are weak and fragile, but God loves us still. We are the crown of His creation and God never allows us to forget that we are His. We are the ones who forget the goodness of God when times are tough. The Lord never forgets that He became man to save mankind—for the scars are still on His hands, feet and side.
The Gospel of Mark tells us …And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
So many times, we forget as Christians, we are servants to everyone. The higher you rise up in any given structure, the more you are called to be the greater and greater servant. The Patriarch is supposed to be servant to the people. He is the one who is supposed to serve the people their food at functions, not the other way around. The President is supposed to protect the people from harm, the policemen is there to protect, the priest to edify—we are called to serve mankind. If we all kept in mind that the Maker and Creator of the universe came and took on flesh for us. He even got down on His hands and knees and washed the disciple’s feet! He came to earth and showed us the way. If we were slaves to all, as Jesus asked us to be, then everyone would be serving everyone and society would be filled with harmony.
We are called to worship and praise the name of the Lord—He in turn blesses us—however, He continues to bless us even when we fail and sin. The idea of the Cross is an image of equality. The cross has two directions, the first is the vertical line—this is our relationship with God and the second is horizontal line—this is our relationship with others. The point in the middle is where Christ united it all.
We are called to be Christians—to have Christ in us. If we spent the time and energy we use to get money and power and used those talents to glorify God, He would supply all our needs. If we stayed humble instead of building up our egos with huge houses and driving Mercedes Benz’s we would show the world who we really are.
I often had discussions with my Aunt MaryAnn before she passed away about forgiveness. She often asked me: How can I love those who use me and hurt me? And my answer would always be the same—It does not matter what anyone does to you—it matters what you do. How can the unbelieving world look at us who are Christians and say we are Christians when we lie, cheat and steal? We, as Christians, sit upon our thrones and forget about others. We, as Christians, are to be as Christ was and is.
We are called to serve, not to be served. We are called to love—even when we are not loved back. We are called to sacrifice ourselves for the love of God. We are called to deny ourselves, pick up the cross and follow the One who paved the direct path to God the Father. Christ showed us the way and He is constantly there showing us the way. The road is clear and the path is narrow and the only time that snares and traps effect us, is when we take detours off the road—but, Christ is always showing us the way.