In the previous meditation we observed that there was a CROSS in the heart of God long before one stood at Calvary, where Christ died. As we travel through the life of Christ in the four Gospels, we also note that His approaching death on the CROSS was at the centre of His life and teaching. As was the case with God, it was not an event that took Him by surprise or that He was anxious to avoid. Listen to His words:
- ‘Destroy this temple (His body), and in three days I will raise it up’, John chapter 2 verse 19.
- ‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man (Himself) be lifted up’, John chapter 3 verse 14.
- ‘Therefore, My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself’, John chapter 10 verses 17-18.
- ‘And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die’, John chapter 12 verses 32-33.
- ‘Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’, Luke chapter 24 verse 26.
The words of Jesus, therefore, did not display any thoughts of probability or possibility about THE CROSS but declared that it was central to His mission on earth! It was the ONLY pathway that He came to tread, even though other pathways might have seemed more preferable. Such a Gospel message runs entirely contrary to human wisdom. The thought of a crucified Messiah was a stumbling-block to the Jews and absolute foolishness to the Gentiles. Paul wrote, ‘For the message of THE CROSS is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’, 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 18.