Dear Immanuel family,
While we lived in South America, we noticed that while celebrating Easter Week the people would give much more emphasis on Christ’s suffering than on his resurrection. After watching the movie, “The Passion of Christ,” I remember feeling that same focus from those who wrote this film that graphically portrayed the agony of Christ’s death on the cross. I think it would be fair to say that most evangelical churches put more weight on the resurrection of Jesus than on his death. And of course, Corinthians tells us, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” (15:17)
Theologically the Apostle Paul makes it very clear that “the cross” should be the focal point of our lives as Christians. As he wraps up his treatise in the book of Galatians to correct the Judaizers who wanted new Christians to be circumcised, he says, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (6:14). Christian carpenters would say all of history “hinges” on this one event - the death of Jesus Christ. Christians scientists would say at the “nucleus” of what we believe is - the death of Jesus Christ.
“For this reason: for redeemed sinners, every good thing – indeed every bad thing that God turns for good – was obtained for us by the cross of Christ…..Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation.” (John Piper). Jesus willingly gave his life for you and for me. He carried the sin guilt of all humanity to the cross and made a payment of his blood that was stamped “Paid in Full.” “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15;13)
So what does this “cross-centered” life look like? The Apostle Paul answers that in the second part of Galatians 6:14 when he says “by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” I think he is telling us that we should be dead to this world. “Paul looked at the world as if it were on a cross and the world looked at Paul as if he was on the cross.” BK Commentary. Let’s live each moment boasting only in the “cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”