The cross of Jesus Christ is the most mysterious and spectacular event in history. It is the foundation of Christian faith, and rightly so for all the promises of God became reality at Calvary’s hill.
By the cross, Jesus became the savior of the world. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. By the cross, Jesus obtained the approval of his Father. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. By the cross, Jesus completed his appointment with death and came to his glorified resurrection. And [Jesus] became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. By the cross, Jesus obtained an everlasting life. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
It was via the cross that Jesus became the first spiritually begotten Son of God. Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. By crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus became master of the universe and entered into that splendid, brilliant, immortal state of being in which he now dwells. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ the cross has stood as the ominous emblem of anguish. But the cross is much more than just earthly pain. Crucifixion is, in reality, the secret recipe for spiritual excellence.
The cross encapsulates the sapience of God. It is an ancient formula, giving entrance to the dwellingplace of God. Those who are processed by it will be ushered into the permanent inheritance of God. Like a spiritual algorithm, the cross is a sequence of steps that lead from human mortality, to the superlative perfection of begotten spirit life.
This process and its result were validated by Jesus Christ. At his physical birth, Jesus was promised a transcendent destiny that far excelled the bounds of earth. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
But God intended that this inheritance should be conveyed through the suffering of the cross. The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not some accident, failure, or freak of nature. It was ordained by the wisdom of God, before the world began. All the plans of God converged at the cross of Jesus, and were held in abeyance as Jesus dutifully accomplished his destiny. It came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Jesus well understood the secret of crucifixion. He knew that the cross would please his Father and also carry him to a name that is above every other. Jesus wisely desired these ends more than his earthly life. Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. With his heart fixed upon these glorious expectations, Jesus pursued the cross as the entrance to an eternal of treasure. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
On the cross, Jesus suffered and died. It is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. But by the cross, Jesus came to his resurrection. Crucifixion always leads to resurrection. These are two halves of the same process; they cannot be separated. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors.
By the cross, Jesus came to possess all the magnificence of his Father. And by this victory, he revealed the cross to be the celestial gateway to spiritual perfection. We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour. If any man will follow along on this path, and complete the same crucifixion formula that Jesus demonstrated, that man will come to the same result. Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
As the firstborn Son, Jesus Christ is the blueprint for Sonship. The events of his life are a pattern for you. All truth is in Jesus, embodied and personified in Him. Ephesians 4:21 (Amplified).
Jesus illuminated the crucifixion-resurrection process as the technique that leads to spiritual magnificence. He is the pristine example of what you are to become, and the proof that the process really works. Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel. By examining the cross of Jesus, you can discern the path that God intends for you. Christ also suffered in your behalf, unto you leaving behind a pattern that ye might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21 (Emphasized). You are expected to follow his example, exactly. As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
The cross of Jesus Christ is a demonstration of the formula that produces resurrected life. Those who find the courage to apply this formula to their own lives, will come to the same result. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. That is to say, if you do what he did, you will get what he got. Because as He Himself is, we also shall be, in that world. 1 John 4:17 (Fenton).
Jesus Christ came to the earth to be crucified, and by his cross he acquired every spiritual treasure. And as it was for him, so it is also for you. You have been called to the same process that Jesus demonstrated. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.
Jesus did not do it all for you, like some supernatural whipping boy. Instead he empowered you to follow his steps, and thus to become what he is. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God. The glorious destiny promised to the Sons of God will be obtained individually, on the cross that God has ordained for each life. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
This is your trek to spiritual maturity. Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Christian goals are not attained by the placebos of Denominationalism. Your Christian dreams will be actualized only by your own cross. Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. This is the hidden and mysterious path to resurrection for all the firstborn Sons of God. Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
When you were born on the earth, you received a fallen, sinful, Adamic nature– this is the grim legacy of Eden. The cross is the method that God has prepared to separate you from this loathsome adversary. God’s objective is the death of your self-will and Adamic pride. These embody your enmity to him, your misunderstanding of his nature. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God.
As your carnality suffers and dies, your spirit will grow to full maturity. Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Your old nature must be consumed, and as this is accomplished the Kingdom of God will open to your spirit. The cross is the tool that will usher you into the presence and likeness of God. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes.
A modern-day cross is a situation from the hand of God that has the power to kill your Adamic nature. It will arrive as a predicament of agony and bewilderment. It will emerge as a crushing foe, bent on terminating your trust in earthly things. Your natural desires will be shattered, your human goals broken and heaped.
Crucifixion is the seemingly senseless destruction of your marriage, children, business, or health. That which you value most is the price of spiritual understanding. In this perplexing heartache your noblest desires for your natural life will be stomped into rubble. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy.
As the process begins, your carnality will rise to the challenge. It will not give up without a fight. It will never crawl off and die peaceably. Instead it will whip your thoughts into a frenzy of rage, resentment, and revenge. Self-justification and self-righteousness will rally the hordes of hell. In league with these, self-preservation will hasten to their aid. These have roots that sink deep into human pride, and together they will make war in your mind, and rip your heart from your chest.
Jesus described this warfare in plain, unequivocal terms. Speaking to his disciples, he explained the secret of the cross. He said that his crucifixion would be a deliberate experience in dreadful anguish, but that it would result in a spectacular resurrection. The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Hearing this revelation for the first time, Peter rejected the concept of crucifixion. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. Peter spoke from the self-preservation of his carnal mind. The carnal mind is the lackey of Satan, and Jesus rebuked this Satanic adversary. He said to Peter, Be gone under my authority, and keep on going, behind me, out of my sight, Satan. A stumbling-block you are to me, because you do not have a mind for the things of God but for the things of men. Matthew 16.23 (Wuest).
The carnal mind doesn’t want to suffer, even if it is the wisdom of God. That portion of you that rejects the cross, is Satan’s domain. That is the portion that must die.
The cross is an intense internal battle of spirit, heart, and mind. Most Christians lose this battle, because when it comes they do not recognize it as the gateway to spiritual immortality. Instead they are immediately overcome by the visible circumstances, and erroneously conclude that their pain is the result of misfortune or someone else’s wickedness. They fail to see God’s glistening sovereignty behind the events, and thus fail to follow the example demonstrated by Jesus Christ. We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.
This is the “offense” of the cross. This lack of insight is a carnal blindness that remains today as the single greatest nemesis of spiritual victory. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. Everyone wants resurrection, but no one wants the crucifixion process that produces it. For when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Thus the wisdom of God has offered the cross of life to every Christian. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of? But most summarily slap the gilded cup from his hand, and fail to drink the permanence of their own spiritual inheritance. He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
If you are to successfully negotiate the cross, you must undergo a change of mind. Your carnal mind is to die, and the Mind of Christ must be birthed. This is the death of “self-will,” regardless of how noble, and the birth of “thy will be done,” regardless of how painful. Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.