Keeping an Eye on the Cross
One of my favorite places to go jogging is Long Beach Island, New Jersey. There is a four-mile run that takes me to the lighthouse in Barnegat Light at the end of this eighteen mile island. No matter what point I am at in the run, I can always see the lighthouse. In fact, it is keeping my eyes on the lighthouse that helps me endure the run. So it is with the cross of Jesus.
Have you ever noticed how each of the Gospel writers keeps their eyes on the cross? Clearly, a disproportionate amount of their attention is focused on the week leading up to the cross. Take the Gospel of Mark for example. Three years of the life of Jesus are crammed into a mere sixteen chapters. And yet six of those sixteen chapters deal with that final week we call, “Passion Week.” Clearly, when John Mark wrote his account of the life of Jesus, his eyes were on the cross.
No doubt, Jesus set his eyes on the cross as well. In each of the four Gospels, Jesus makes three predictions of his coming death. In the Gospel of Mark you hear Jesus say in Mark 8:31, “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things...and be killed.” Again, in Mark 9:31, Jesus says to his disciples, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him.” A third time, in Mark 10:33, Jesus said, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over.. and they will condemn him to death.” Clearly, the eyes of Jesus were focused on the cross.
And of course, the eyes of the early church never left the cross. In describing his message, Paul said to the Corinthians, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
So what about your eyes? Do you keep your eyes on the cross of Jesus? Fleming Rutledge concludes that we can “assert that the crucifixion is the most important historical event that has ever happened.” And so through the lens of the cross, we understand everything else about life and faith.
If we keep our eyes on the cross of Jesus, we can even see that our own suffering has purpose. In fact, we can embrace suffering because it has redemptive value in our lives. God uses it, like he used the suffering of Jesus, for our good. Does not Paul say in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his suffering, becoming like him in his death.
So as you run this race called life, keep your eyes on the cross of Jesus. Know for certain that God is doing a good work in you and through you as you carry your cross and follow Jesus.
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