This is a bit of a continuation from Lent Day 21 post on Friday… I’ll try to tread lightly on this one, but today’s lie is a powerful one that has huge implications on how we go about our life and faith. We have long been told through teaching, songs, Christian culture, magazines and even jewelry, that the biggest impact of Jesus was the cross. As I mentioned Friday, the way that God chose to defeat Satan was also the means of salvation for us, but interestingly it was not the main story that the apostles told. If you have a minute, read Acts 4. I’ll try to hit the high points. “They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” (v.2) “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who you crucified on the cross but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.” (v.10)
We have to try and shift our thinking into the culture of the day to understand why these first apostles lead with the resurrection instead of the cross. For us, someone dying on the cross is a brutal death, but for them it was commonplace. We hear and read the story of Jesus’ death and are impacted; they witnessed deaths on the cross fairly regularly. After all, two other men were crucified with Jesus. I remember when “The Passion of the Christ” came out. That movie set records that are still intact today and had a lasting impact on many. While I appreciate, on some level, what the scene writers accomplished in telling the story, I was saddened by the last scene of the movie. The resurrection was given less than a minute of screen time, yet that was the best part of the story! It was like watching an epic romance that ended with the tragedy scene instead of the redemption of the romance. Or watching “Braveheart” and stopping the movie after Wallace was killed. Focusing our attention on the cross without giving equal or greater attention to the resurrection leaves us with only part of the story.
I believe that our Christian culture’s focus on the cross is pleasing to the Evil One. If he can keep us there and away from the resurrection, then we are much more inclined to focus on sin management instead of living in the reality of the resurrection. We see hope, joy and incredible conviction in the apostles teaching in Acts. I love verse 13 of Acts 4. “[The Jews] were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” As we seek to live into the reality of the resurrection, may we too be recognized as men and women who have spent time with Jesus.
Lie: The Cross was the crescendo of Jesus’ story
Truth: Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proved that he was God in the flesh and gives us hope for a joy-filled life
“Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you” (John 16:22).