“So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called Golgotha. There they crucified him” – John 19
At the center of our Christian faith stands the cross. It is a condemning symbol for you and I. It declares that we are enemies of God. It reveals that we all have failed. Romans 3:23 frames this failure by declaring that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The cross declares without apology that none of us are good, no one understands and no one seeks after God.
The image of the cross, alone, should make us weep with our failures. When we proclaim ourselves as Christians, the cross is a part of who we are. The cross, alone, declares that we all fail, we have all fallen and there is no hope. With our sins clearly exposed by the presence of the cross, there is no need to pretend to be better than we are. If you call yourself a Christian, then we know, you are a failure just like the rest of us.
But we do not view the cross alone. While the cross may reveal that we have no hope, the man hanging on the cross changes the story. Jesus made the sacrifice we could not make, to pay the debt we could not pay. Jesus changed my story and He changes yours. Jesus frees us to be honest about who we are, failures and all. Since there is no reason to pretend that we aren’t broken, this should free us to be open and honest with ourselves.
The clarity of the cross presses us deeply into the hope that Jesus offers. Today, rest in that hope. Spend some time in prayer today confessing the sins that the cross may remind you of, and then rest in the presence of Jesus – you are forgiven, restored and redeemed. The shackles have been broken and you have been set free.