The Tragedy of the Cross

Isaiah 52:14b esv – his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind.

     Have we ever considered what it cost God, Jesus’ father, to bear through the sufferings of Jesus?  Certainly, we cannot comprehend what God experienced at that time; we are merely human.  Still, if our nature as human parents having watched our own children hurt are any indication of how God must have suffered, how much more wonderful the gift of mercy and grace upon us is.

     God, the father, watched as Jesus was struck for answering the high priest’s questions.  An unjust striking for Jesus spoke the truth that was misunderstood.

     God, the father, witnessed as Pilate found no wrongdoing on Jesus’ behalf yet turned over to be crucified under pressure by the Hebrew priest.

     God, the father, looked on as the Roman guards twisted long thorny vines into a ring and pushed them into Jesus’ scalp; viciously flogged him and hit him repeatedly.

     God, the father, restrained himself as he watched his Son being forced to carry the heavy cross-beam of the cross to the hill of Golgotha where he was nailed to the beam and hung upon the cross.

     God, the father, witnessed Jesus’ earthly death upon the cross; an unjust ending to a life of serving his father here on earth.

     God, the father, endured all this as his Son rescued mankind.

Towards the same goal; serving Christ

Matthew 28:18:20 – “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Last year, Meridian Avenue Baptist Church adopted new bylaws that were structured to guide our church to Make Disciples by helping people to (1) Experience God, to (2) Grow in Faith and to (3) Serve Others.  Recently I learned that our American Baptist Churches – International Ministries has resolved that there are three Focused Impact Areas for their outreach.  The areas that they are focusing on are (1) inviting people to be disciples of Jesus Christ, (2) proclaiming God’s reign of justice, peace, and abundant life, and (3) equipping the body of Christ to engage in God’s mission.

I am encouraged that both Meridian Avenue and ABC-IM place bringing people to Christ as their primary responsibility.  All Christians share the responsibility of speaking about Christ and providing an opportunity for all to hear the Gospel message.  I am further encouraged that Meridian Avenue and ABC-IM place emphasis on sending new Christians forth and to serve others; engaging in God’s mission.