I had been a believer for about four years, and I was in Israel for the first time. When we visited one of the possible sites for the crucifixion of Jesus, I was shocked to see people just wandering by the place as if nothing happened there. In fact, a large, loud, busy, smelly bus station in front of that place dominated the scene. People just came and went, day after day, month after month, ignorant of, or simply ignoring the crucifixion.
Then, I didn’t understand how that happens. Now, four decades later, I realize that all of us sometimes wander past the cross as if it doesn’t matter. Here are some reasons that happens:
- We’ve heard the story so often that it’s become routine. What was so fascinating when we first heard it no longer makes our heart skip a beat.
- We weep too little over the depth of our sin. We don’t stand amazed at the cross if we aren’t that concerned about our sin in the first place. Being flippant about sin = disregard for the cross.
- We study the cross only at this time of year. It’s Easter week, so we turn to the arrest and death of Jesus, followed by the resurrection. Far too often, we’ll come back to the cross only next year at the same time.
- We’ve never deeply mediated on the accounts of the cross. Sure, we’ve heard the stories, but that doesn’t mean we’ve read them deeply. Somehow, we skim over accounts of the Son of God dying in our place.
- We take the Lord’s Supper for granted. God gave us this ordinance to remember His death until He comes again; that is, He knew we would need reminders. Still, many churches treat this act as a service add-on taken only because it’s the right time in the church calendar.
- We like power and position, even in the church. The cross, though, flies in the face of this kind of thinking. The cross is about surrender and brokenness and sacrifice and death.
- We’ve too seldom been challenged not to take the cross for granted. Maybe this post is that challenge for you. I know it has been for me as I’ve written it.
The sayings from the cross almost never made it in to the sermon. They did not fit well with Paul’s letters. Some of us never heard the story of the cross at all. It was overlooked as were the gospels. Also, Evangelicals rarely put much effort into the Eucharist for fear of being accused of being closet Catholics.