When I looked at the dictionary to confirm the meaning of this word, I was surprised to find it said, “A vital, basic, or decisive point. A cross. Something that torments by its puzzling nature; a perplexing difficulty. (Cross, torment, trouble).
So “Crux” certainly describes the Cross and the gospel.
The power of the gospel lies in its offence. It is an affront to the kingdom of man. It offends man’s independence, his autonomy, the very core of his being. It offends his PRIDE. His vanity. His very “life”. It is designed to bring man back to God. (From “death”).
So if it is designed to bring him back, then ‘back’ from what? and to ‘what’ God?
The message is of a creation gone wrong, gone bad, gone “rogue”, even though it has the appearance of being designed to go that way. It was not so much that something was perfect before it then went astray and had to be led back again to the former position, but more that the position from which it “fell” was an idle, static, non-productive one which was more of a starting point for further development than some place of perfection to which it must be returned.
The message brings understanding that man’s life is based on non ethical components as a result of being a creature who was given the ability for self determination and self sustenance. Under these conditions, he was able to generate all manner of diversity within his realm of domination of himself and of his surrounding fellow humans. This produced much evil.
So to use the dreaded word “evolution” of the creation, man developed in all manner of ways to the present day where his evil has become more and more sophisticated. Granted that the common person may not be held up as any great example of this evil, but this is all part of the deception to do with comparative values instead of absolute ones.
The corruption of mankind is a far different world to the perfection of God. Man’s corrupt world is based on earthly logic and rationality, as it relates to and within his corrupt environment. Relative morality holds sway, as the virtue of one immorality is compared with another.
Man has generated for himself and his fellow earth dwellers, a mess which is well established and complete in all manner of evil.
Each person’s life is encapsulated in an individual lifetime of futility, with widely differing criteria applied to individual circumstance. Yet the common denominator is death. The physical creation is a dead end, a futile creation of hopelessness. Yet within this can be seen the promise of life, the notion of beauty, the sacrifice of love. Even in the animal kingdom can be found the principle of nurturing, caring, and parenthood.
Somehow this inner felt longing for a truth and completeness, and acceptance by the universe, is able to be defined and recognised by this mankind which is lost in corruptive processes.
The gospel presents to man his helplessness. It does this within the scope of his ability to recognise his own contribution to the wrongdoing that has both contributed to his own demise as well as the demise of others. Guilt in this regard, is present in those who have recognised some degree of inherent goodness in themselves and in others.
The gospel shows man the mess he has created, and in which he finds himself, with no way of escape. And it presents the need for him to acknowledge the hopelessness of his position, as a first step towards truth. This is the first revelation of the necessary awareness he will need to be able to move away from his lost position. The necessity to recognise his position of death, and to see it for what it really is. Only against the backdrop of life’s experiences can this reality be seen, as the spark of real truth filters through.
The cross reveals this death and its truth. But it reveals it within the framework of innocence, that innocence lost when childhood acceptance fell victim to adult domination, when self assertiveness and self seeking arose within in order to take one’s place in the world.
The message is that the innocence of Jesus, the very son of the Creator, was forfeit because of our pursuance of self interest, and that he would sacrifice so much in order to get our attention. The message that the Spirit of creative life was so concerned with our dismal and pathetic condition, that He would become involved with us to show us the truth of all things. That we are helpless of ourselves to be anything other than that which we are, and that He had to initiate the next creative step on our behalf, so we could enter into the life that truly is life, being HIS life.
How mankind hates that message. How offensive even the very name Jesus is to the world that drifted into anarchy.
And that is the very point. Here lies the divisive nature of the cross. Here lies the invitation to leave this world of death and to cleave to the promise of life. But it means proclaiming one’s reliance on another to save him, it means the admission of defeat, of helplessness of oneself to enable anything at all that might in the least way alleviate this hopeless situation. And it means basing all of one’s future life on allegiance to an unseen God. This is called Faith.
Reliance on an unseen eternal parent, after the manner of our earthly parents, but one with all the authority and grandeur of the universe itself. And complete reliance on His nature, his Spirit, his life, his love; to guide and sustain us, instead of looking to our own judgement, wisdom, and thinking. Looking to the Spirit of life and of Truth, rather than the inner workings of the human mind.
And here lies the deceptive nature of man who, rather than give up his control, will refuse to let go of his earthly death, even creating religions about the gospel rather than to move into and live in, that gospel. All manner of fine sounding argument and logic that only serves one purpose – that of keeping people away from the real truth that JESUS PAID FOR OUR SINS, and so self centred that they would rather sustain a whole organisation that is focused on this avoidance of the truth, rather than individualistically having to disown and deny their own earthly lives.
The gospel confronts man and demands he own its premise – that he is dead in sin and needs to be saved by the hand of another. There can be no contribution, only admission of guilt, and the need to rely on the ongoing nurturing of the very Spirit and life blood of God himself, on His spiritual guidance moment by moment, day by day, and not on some formulae that is supposedly derived from scripture. The Spirit is a living life force that moves you from death into life, on a continuing journey of the revelation of love.