January 1 Understanding the Cross
For reading & meditation: Romans 5:6-21 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (v. 8)
An ancient theologian - St. Augustine - suggested that "the answer to the mystery of the universe is God and the answer to the mystery of God is Christ." If this is so then I would like to make a further suggestion: the answer to the mystery of Christ is to be found in His sacrificial spirit, the supreme evidence of which is the cross. We will never in our mortal state be able to grasp the full meaning of the cross. But what we do grasp gives us a clue to what lies in the heart of the Infinite. Theologians often discuss the various theories of the atonement. Personally, I find myself accepting any theory of the atonement that makes the meaning of the cross more vital and clear. No theory seems to me big enough to fit the facts. As Jesus broke the bars of the tomb and stepped out beyond them, so the fact of Jesus dying seems to transcend our most careful statements or form of words. To really understand the cross one must have an attitude of mind and heart that responds to its meaning. I came across this: "To understand art one must have art within one; to understand music one must have music within one." I thought to myself, to understand the cross one must have a sacrificial spirit within one. Those who profess to know Christ but live only for self will know something of the cross but will miss its real meaning. The cross is best understood not by an argument but by an attitude.
Father, I see that if I am to fully understand the cross I must have a sacrificial spirit within me. May I linger at Your cross until Your nature becomes my nature. Then seeing I shall see. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For further study:John 15:13; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 2:24; Titus 2:1-14;
1. How is love demonstrated?
2. What was the greater dimension of Christ's sacrifice?