More Than a Symbol
There is no symbol that is more recognized than the cross. The symbol of the cross has been displayed, worn, revered, and sadly but true, worshipped. To the born-again Christian, the cross is more than a symbol; a symbol always points to something greater than what it is in itself, it represents something grander. To the Christian, the symbol of the cross represents the Christ who was crucified on Calvary’s mount, and his payment for the penalty of sin. To the repentant believer, the cross makes a difference between eternal life and eternal death, between being saved or lost. When Jesus went to the cross a spiritual line was drawn between light and darkness, between victory and defeat, between good and evil, between love and hate, between a life lived for self or the Savior. Yes, the cross symbolizes the death of our Lord, and it was the One who died for sin that also gives us his Biblical teaching on the symbol of OUR cross. OUR cross? Yes, indeed, for Jesus “said unto them, whosoever will come after me, let deny himself, and take up HIS CROSS and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Jesus was introducing the truth of discipleship when he spoke on the symbol regarding the believer taking up “his cross.” A Christian cannot follow the Lord without the death to his old way, and walking in “newness of life” (Romans 6:3). The Lord’s teaching on the subject of being a true follower, a true disciple brought a new and powerful dimension in living the Christian life. With the denial of self, involving the death to man’s old way of life, then and there marks the beginning of a new following - the believer is now living in HIS NEWNESS as a disciple. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it (v. 35). So, the symbol of the cross sends a signal of something greater, grander, and more glorious. So, here’s the personal challenge for every believer: What does the One who bore the cross for me, desire from me? What the cross meant to our Lord, needs to bring some meaningful Christ-like significance for me. As I take up MY cross and follow him, not only is the symbol of death revealed, but there is more: The One who bore the cross for me, is now alive in me as I take up MY CROSS (Galatians 2:20). Jesus said that “whosoever shall lose his life, the same shall save it.” He reaffirmed that life in the symbol of the grain of wheat: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). So, there is more than a symbol of which the Lord is teaching, there is a representation of something greater: Christ’s death for our sin, and ours in like fashion brings life. Our cross represents something greater, death to self-will and a surrender to his will. So, there’s more than a symbol of death, Jesus is telling us that there is new life; BUT new life will never come without death coming first. It was love’s power that brought Jesus to HIS cross that day, and now that same power brings us to our cross in following our Lord in HIS Spirit of new life. Yes, the precious gift of eternal life hinges on HIS cross, and now the measure of our surrender to the ONE who died there will reveal the degree of our life’s fulfillment in LIFE ETERNAL, HIS LIFE, for us, in us, in the NOW. Yes, the cross is more than a symbol of death, it is a symbol of life: “Whosoever will lose his life for my sake … the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35). The blessed wonder of a fulfilling life in Christ is directly related to the measure of the believer’s surrender, losing one’s life for Jesus, and at the same eternal moment finding life in him. So, therein, the cross is more than a symbol, it represents something greater, grander, and more glorious: LIFE IN HIM when we die to self.