Although each Sunday Christians gather in worship to remember Jesus’ death, it is at this time of the year that Jesus was actually nailed to a cross and raised up to die. As Paul wrote his letters to real congregations facing common problems, repeatedly his apostolic pastoral guidance rallied Christians to shape their lives by the way of the cross.
The way of the cross should be the molding force in a Christian husband’s life. Although many ideas and models compete in the modern marketplace for how a husband might treat his wife, the model of Christ’s selfless love for the sake of the church should be the driving force behind a disciple’s behavior toward his wife (Ephesians 5:25,28,29). The way of the cross should determine how a Christian husband treats his wife.
Just as Jesus taught that being a disciple was contingent upon picking up one’s own cross and following him (Luke 9:23;14:27), this message is also echoed through Paul’s words: “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). When someone responds to Jesus crucified in order that he or she might belong to Him, the way of the cross is supposed to transform that person’s life. Accordingly, the mindset of those in Christ should be the same as Paul’s: “may I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
The message of the cross also addresses the fundamental issue behind the societal symptomatic problem of demanding my freedom and rights. Whereas the knowledge of my liberty might cause me to become puffed up in protecting what I deserve or what I understand that I should be able to do, the message of Christ crucified is intended to reverse such self-centered motivation. The way of the cross calls the Christian to be driven by the imitation of Christ’s love for us whereby he served our genuine needs instead of insisting on His rights. Love makes sacrifices for the sake of building others up. In order to seek the well-being of others for whom Christ died, personal rights and privileges can be gladly given up (1 Corinthians 8-9).
The message of the cross provided the appropriate corrective to the divisive, sectarian spirit at Corinth. Whereas the Corinthian Christians had become enamored by human wisdom and eloquence which drove them to elevate and rally around certain personalities, Paul replaced these false values by placing God’s wisdom center stage. Where is God’s wisdom displayed? It is found in the proclamation of a hill overshadowed by the uplifted form of the Savior exposed on the stark exposed beams of a cross, dying for humanity. The way of the cross points down the path of what matters. Accordingly, Paul had spent his time among the Corinthians resolved to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).
This list is not exhaustive. Let’s learn the lessons of the way of the cross and allow it to shape our lives as we pick up our crosses to follow our Master and Savior.
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