This evening, we went downtown for a Stations of the Cross service. I was privileged to help carry the cross to one of the stations. It gave me just a minuscule taste of what my Savior went through.
While we were at one of the stations, a transit bus pulled away from a stop and drowned out part of what was being said. I thought how for most people in our town, life was going on as usual tonight. I imagine that on the day that Jesus was crucified, life went on as usual for many of the people in Jerusalem. The religious leaders had a day that was out of the ordinary, as did the followers of Jesus. I would guess that most of the folks in the city went about the usual preparations for the Sabbath. The darkness and earthquake threw a bit of a scare into them, but it may have been a minor inconvenience.
How many of us are like that? Sure, we believe that Jesus died to save us, that his blood cleanses us from sin. We are thankful for that, we sing songs about how much we love him and we "Amen" sermons about the cross. But we go on and live our lives as if nothing significant happened, and life goes on as usual. What difference has the cross made? Is it really important, or is it just something that defines our religious system as different from others?
Jesus didn't die on the cross just to buy us a ticket to heaven. His sacrifice was not so we could use the cross to prove that we are better than others. Jesus suffered and died so that we who were dead could live. He died to make us children of God. His death takes away all our sin and our guilt so we no longer have to live in fear. We are free because of the cross.
Jesus' death also serves as the example of the way we should love others. He said that the greatest love was to lay down your life for your friends, and then he laid his life down for us. Jesus also gave a command that we love others in the same way that he loved us. He said that our love would prove to others that we belong to him.
Do we live in a manner that puts others first? Are we known for our love and sacrifice, or are we known for the things we are against? Is our life characterized by simplicity and generosity or are we wrapped up in the pursuit of the American Dream?
Has the cross made a difference in our lives? Is it continuing to make a difference?
Or is life going on as usual?
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