Good Friday is the one day in the year, where Christians can fully observe a day and know they are fully aligned to scripture. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper, the Cross and the Resurrection will continue for eternity. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the hinge of all visible and invisible history and the blessed yet paradoxical visual depiction of agape love in its purest expression.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” We are called to death. Followers of Jesus are called to daily denial of self because without it, there is no daily resurrection life. The cross is the only instrument which can kill self. This instrument, this Weapon of the Godhead, is an exceedingly precious gift to a soul set on a pilgrimage toward the heart of God.
Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who lives”. The Greek word for “I” is ‘ego’. Therefore, it just as well reads like this, “My ego has been crucified with Christ and my ego no longer lives but Christ now lives in me”. Hallelujah to the hope of being egofree.
The cross is the way God kills ego by the crucifixion of self. And do you know how death occurs on a cross? Suffocation and drowning in your own blood as fluid fills your lungs. Unfortunately, the ego does not die instantly! How we wish it would! Quick and easy is so much less painful. But somehow in the mystery of the mind of God, the cross was the instrument He chose. Perhaps because it was the instrument, we chose to kill Christ by our sin? And so sometimes we struggle to die.
Egocide is what the cross accomplishes in us. Egocide is not suicide or homicide, it is the destruction of the ego (not the soul). And how we need the ego to be killed, destroyed, nailed and annihilated! Ego-crucifixion it is not a quick death but it is 100% guaranteed.
Our sinful ego killed Christ on the Cross and the Cross fittingly is what kills ego. The cross is the ego-killer! It kills the killer. The cross is the only lethal weapon against egoflesh. No therapy, no knowledge can do what the cross can do. The cross is God’s answer to our hardwiring nature that sins-for-fun. The cross is the wooden furnace fuel for the destruction of our yeasty, swollen and prideful flesh. The cross is hope. The cross is our only exit from selfishness. The cross is not medication to a partially good self, it is absolute mortification, eradication, and annihilation of self.
The wooden cross is a dead tree. It means what it is. It does what it is. It represents something. But it only works when you raise it from the ground with your faith and put it on your shoulder by faith and see the nails by faith and the crown of thorns by faith. You must pick it up by faith. God does not pick up your cross for you.
It shapes you, you do not shape it. It is lifeless and it takes life. It was once alive, like you were once alive, before Christ found you in the gutter of your own self-importance. The cross gives your life the shape of Another. The shape of Jesus. The shape of NOT MY WILL BUT YOUR WILL, FATHER. The cross is not just paint stripper, it is a 20 ton wrecking ball! The house your built on sand, it will obliterate it!
Your old life, which is now like a wooden cross, is dead. Reckon it dead. By faith it is dead. Faith it dead. You once were a living tree planted somewhere on this earth. You were happy and flourishing in your own sin-fertilised-soil of pride, covetousness, hate, anger, fornication and jealously. Your roots went deep down into the composted soil of all things dead or dying. Then Christ the Lumberjack-of-us-All, offered to cut down that tree of self, that tree of self reliance and independence, full of the knowledge of Good and Evil … and offered His life in a no brainier exchange.
He offers us Himself but not without His Cross … because flesh cannot live with Divinity. Light and darkness cannot move in together. Satan and Christ do not marry. Many want a Jesus without a cross. A comforting Jesus, a convenient Jesus, a Jesus made in our image… but the Real Jesus is only available on the other side of the Cross.
Christ’s gospel offers us life after death, life after ego-death and body-death – the two resurrections He offers. One while we breathe, the other when we stop breathing. Jesus offers us the only way out of the hell of a sin infected sick boiling cauldron of a life trying to fight against a million habitual sins. Hope in helplessness.
Preaching the good news means preaching two incredibly positive truths …. That the cross is the effective final solution to the mortification of the ego and that Christ in us, becomes the hope of the full recovery of glory we lost in Adam in Eden. There is no good news if there is no cross because we cannot have resurrection life without cross death of self. Thankyou Jesus for the Cross!
The cruciformed life is a life shaped by daily raising up our cross. Taking up our cross means raising it from the ground and carrying it. The Greek word for take up in Mt 16:24 is airó, literally meaning to ‘give air’ to your cross. Lift it up, own it, carry it, walk with it wherever you go. Those that raise it every day, live every day. Those that let it lie unused in the stuffed full garage of our busyness and independence, just don’t grow, which means they die. That is really dying. Jesus offers all of us life and resurrection life, in abundance. Abundant cross raises, abundant resurrections. Daily resurrections.
May we choose to raise our cross morning by morning and it will be our daily companion in the process of the destruction of our ego so that the resurrection Life of Christ can shine brightly through the veil of our mortal bodies.