As I write these words this Good Friday morning, the crackle of thunder, the patter of raindrops, and the gloominess of a cloud-filled sky remind me of that first “Good Friday” when Jesus Christ uttered his last words and “darkness came over the land.” Yet, that darkness with all its fury and despondency gave way to light and blessing.
The cross is confusing. It is the great dichotomy. It is foolishness to some, but others is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). It is judgment, yet deliverance. It is humiliation, yet honor. It is evil, yet good. It displays God’s judgment, yet it reveals His great love. It is horrifying, yet comforting; elevates fear, yet inspires courage. But, the cross is the answer to life – even our lives today.
The cross of Christ reveals this great mystery, how one event can be all of those things and more, and how the God of the universe is steadily saving the world. God can make good out of evil. That is the message of the cross!
This year I have started to pray specifically for courage. Why courage? Because the most often repeated command in the Bible is “do not fear.” Not only that, but Jesus speaks this theme more than any other in the New Testament. I have noticed loved ones and other friends become consumed with fear in different fashions, and because of the cross, this should not be so!
Every fews years I go back and read my favorite book, Cross of Christ, by John Stott. This summer, I noticed this strong statement in his chapter on self-understanding and self-giving.
“Insistence on security is incompatible with the way of the cross.”
Wow! How can this be true? Especially for those of us living in the United States, we have become dependent upon security. Not only that, but we feel we are entitled to it. After all, security and prosperity are part of the American Dream, right?!
Dr. Stott went on to say that we have a choice in our lives between comfort and suffering, between selfish ambition or sacrifice. He states that Jesus had no security except in His Father. Therefore, if we want to follow Jesus, we do it by casting out fear and having courage!
The cross demonstrates to us that God transforms evil into good. And when believers follow Him, we may face great hardship and suffering, but there is special blessing in continuing to trust. God is glorified in the trust of His people. Take courage and do not fear! We will understand it all someday!