Safe on the cross
For all the heart-rending distress that the crucifixion caused, could Jesus have been in any safer place at that moment than on the cross? He faced public ridicule. Torture. Desertion. Disbelief. Death.
Yet he allowed this sequence of events to evolve, knowing (as the Bible makes clear) what was going to take place. He could have escaped harm as he had on previous occasions. Why didn't he this time?
People familiar with the Biblical account of his struggle in Gethsemane know the decision was not an easy one. He admitted to his disciples, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." And he prayed, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me."
But he continued, "Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." n1 In his obedience lay his safety. In his obedience lay the way to the resurrection -- his triumph over death. In his obedience lay the ascension -- his triumph over all materiality.
n1 Matthew 26:38, 39.
Startling as it may sound, Jesus was willing to accept the cross. And his next step was the tomb -- of which Mary Baker Eddy n2 writes: "The lonely precints of the tomb gave Jesus a refuge from his foes, a place in which to solve the great problem of being. . . . He proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate." n3 In other words, yet another place where most of us feel we would be in danger was, in fact, at that moment a refuge.
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 44;
To what extent are we willing to turn our crosses and tombs -- our trials and limitations -- into proofs of eternal Life and unchanging Love? To what extent are we willing to be obedient to God, even when it means doing something or being somewhere we'd rather not? To what extent are we willing to acknowledge the safety that is intrinsically ours as God's spiritual offspring, even when we face circumstances that, from a human perspective, seem far from ideal?
By being obedient to God, we become more conscious that we are under God's protection. This fact applies to day-to-day living as well as to what may seem to be crucifixion experiences. Obedience gives us protection and support as well as some measure of resurrection from the belief that we are but fleshly mortals destined for oblivion.
If we feel we're being "crucified" on the job or in a family relationship, for example, we may be tempted to give up and quit. If a withdrawal from the situation results from turning, humbly to God --seeking to do His will -- that is the right step to take. But if our obedience means staying with the situation, we can rest assured that we and others are being embraced in God's care.And we will emerge stronger.
How do we know when we're being obedient to God? By the results of our decisions. We will feel closer to God's care and goodness when we're obedient. We will become more aware of our spiritual identity as the children of God. We will seek to bless others by our actions, even as we realize that we too are being blessed. We will yearn for solid progress instead of fleeting self-indulgence.
In every way possible, we can strive to follow the example of our Way-shower, Christ Jesus. And while this may sometimes lead toward trials and temptations, we can remember that it really leads throughm such trials and temptations toward triumphs and Easter mornings.
Writing about our participation in Jesus' atonement, Mrs. Eddy urges, "If your endeavors are beset by fearful odds, and you receive no present reward, go not back to error, nor become a sluggard in the race." And she adds reassuringly , "When the smoke of battle clears away, you will discern the good you have done , and receive according to your deserving." n4
n4 ibid.,m p. 22.
When we trust God and obey Him, there's a resurrection for every crucifixion. There is safety on the cross. DAILY BIBLE VERSE A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguis h, for joy that a man is born into the world. John 16:21