Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Way of the Cross (16)

As we consider the way of the cross, we come to the Psalms, with so many prophecies and shadows of the glory and wonder of the Lord's passion.

On reading the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion, it becomes very clear that the cross of Jesus is a great divider, and a great unifier. The cross divides - between those who accept Jesus as Saviour, and those who reject him and plot to murder him. At the same time, the cross unites - those who are believing are bound together as the church, and those who reject are bound together, united in their opposition to Jesus.

Just think for a moment of the Jewish religious leaders, who worked with the political authorities to ensure Jesus was crucified. Or think of Luke 23:12 - 'And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other from that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.' These enemies became friends when seeking to get rid of Jesus.

Psalm 2 highlights the futility and foolishness of those who oppose Jesus.

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed.' (Psalm 2:1-2)

It's the very verse the disciples turned to when they began to be persecuted for proclaiming the risen and exalted Jesus in Jerusalem in Acts 4. It's the verse that gave them boldness to continue to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Why?

Such opposition is ultimately in vain, because the LORD has established his King on Zion, his Son who will rule over all the earth as his inheritance. When he comes again, it will not be to suffer, but to rule over all - therefore we need to get the response right now:

Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:11-12)

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