I am a Methodist pastor, a member of that denomination begun nearly three-hundred years ago by John Wesley. The name “Methodist” was originally intended as a derogatory term, a criticism of the way Wesley and his followers acted. They were methodical in their faith and approach to doing church.
But the term became a name that truly described a way of faith and was quickly embraced by those who followed Wesley. What was intended to bring shame became an emblem of good work.
I think of this when I consider all that was involved in the crucifixion of Jesus. He was draped in a purple robe, handed a scepter and had a crown pressed on his head. He was mocked with the expression “Hail, King of the Jews.” A sign over his head on the cross proclaimed “This is the King of the Jews.”
All of it was meant to humiliate and mock Jesus, but in fact all of it brought glory to him. He is the King, deserving of purple robes and a crown. And so it is with the cross.
Meant to be a device of torture and death, the cross became a symbol of the new life we are given through the sacrifice of Jesus. Meant to put an end to things, the cross is where our faith may begin, with our sins forgiven. The cross does not hold the body of our Lord, but instead holds our sins. They are nailed to that wood and gone from us.
As this passage explains, we were dead in our lives because we had no connection to God. We were dead because we were laden with the sins of disobedience. But the crucifixion put an end to all of that.
Through the crucifixion of Jesus we are brought into a relationship with the Almighty. Through Jesus’ sacrifice we are given new life. The old is gone and canceled out. What was once a burden is left at the cross so that we begin a deeper faith unencumbered by sin and guilt.
Now, it is left to us to accept this salvation and start our lives fresh and new. The powers of earth and of hell have been disarmed. What was intended as a public spectacle of shame is a public spectacle of triumph.
DAILY CHALLENGE: How will you accept the new life Christ brings you?