"And they spit on him and took the reed and struck Him on the head." -Matthew 27:30 (ESV)
It can be easy, it seems, to become distracted from the cross. It can be easy to forget Him who we serve, and serve ourselves, instead. Serve our possessions, our significant others, our families, our friends. We can sometimes put them first, and God second. We believe that we need these things, and end up sinning in order to obtain them. They distract us from the cross, and they distract us from our original goal. It can be so easy, it seems, to become distracted from the cross.
I was once walking on a road. It was the one I walked every day. There by the wayside, they had a place I always turned my head from. It was where they hung the men who stole. The men who murdered. The men who committed crime worthy of death. This time, however, there was something different. Something that caught my attention. Before I knew it, I noticed myself approaching the scene. Shouts of anger, and shouts of mockery are what I heard, among screams of pain and anguish that, despite the intensity of the yells of the crowd, somehow were yet even louder than they that mocked him. He never resisted. This is what was odd. Those being beaten always resisted, at least right at first when they could. They were nailing Him to the cross now, and I stood, watching in horror and disgust as they drove the spikes through his wrists, securing him to the wood. I had never seen this man before, but he was somehow familiar. The mass mocked him, calling him a king, and taunting him, telling him to do miracles and save himself. I wasn't sure what it all meant, but I saw them spitting at him, hitting them, and I was ashamed to be even in their presence. But as I approached, I was astonished. I heard a voice among the crowd; one that was very familiar. Turning towards it, I saw the person that it was, and I sank to my knees in horror. That person, spitting on this supposed king, cursing this man who was innocent, was me.
Whenever we sin, we are this person. We are spitting on Christ, and we are nailing Him to the cross. Sometimes, we get sidetracked, and we forget the intensity of sin. We forget that whenever we speak poorly of someone behind their back, or we make that cutting remark that seemed so right at the time, that this is what we are doing. We are joining the crowd of mockers and scoffers. This is why Christ is so wonderful. This is why we have the Gospel, because Jesus was willing to do this for us. For all of us. Romans 3:23 informs us that all have sinned and fallen short. Understanding this, Jesus came and died for us. Isn't it wonderful can be in the crowd one day, and the next, He has forgiven us?! There are many things we can learn from this.
First of all, we can learn that we are to be faithful to Him at all times. We must strive for perfection, and the instant we fall, we need to ask for forgiveness, get back up, and keep on in our journey. We need to stop and repent, because every sin is yet another curse, and another beating. And while this is not a very pleasant subject, but it must be said.
Second, we need to thank God every day. We need to thank Him for His son, who was sent to do this for us. Who, as we see in Mark 14:36, cried, "Abba, Father. All things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but you will." Christ put God's will first, as should we. And we should be thankful for this every day, and show our gratitude in our daily walk, telling everyone of the greatness of this ultimate sacrifice, being a vessel of His words.
Lastly (or at least in this list, as I could go on forever on things we can learn from the cross) we can learn that we are to be patient with others in their sin, and that we need to forgive them, just as Christ forgave us. We need to love them as He loved us, John 13:34-35, "By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.", we read in the latter verse. We are to have love, and patience for each other. We are to take the Bible and we are to share it with others. And when they sin against us, we are to forgive them wholeheartedly just as Christ has forgiven us (you can read about this more in Matthew 18:21-35). Otherwise, as we see in Matthew 18:35, we, ourselves, will not be forgiven.
Today I would like to encourage you to ask yourself, "What is it that I am struggling with?" And to find a way to fix it. Talk to your parents, your friends, your elders, whoever it is that can help you with your sins. The gate is narrow that leads to heaven (Matthew 7:14) and we need to be one of those few who enter it. Today I would like to encourage you to cease sinning, and to exit the crowd of scoffers, repenting, and doing your best to not go back. It's not something that's easy to think about, but it's important that we always keep these things in mind, and study them for ourselves.