The Problems With The Cross of Jesus (part 2)

23 Comments
March 17, 2014

Today’s post is part two of a two part blog series on the problems with the cross of Jesus.  Yes, I did say that.  There are some major issues when it comes to the understanding of many regarding the nature of the cross of Jesus Christ.  While these two blog posts are not meant to be an exhaustive discourse about this topic, I do hope these posts can bring some more clarity to the person and nature of Jesus Christ, and the demonstration of love that His cross is.  

Several folks told me personally that part 1 of this series was very eye opening to them.  I hope today’s post can be equally as helpful, if not more.  If you haven’t yet read part 1, please read that HERE before reading the rest of this post.  

Problem #2 An Insufficient Demonstration.

The cross of Jesus was lacking something.  Now before you call me a heretic, I would like to remind you that I’m not the first one to say something like this.  If you know anything about Paul the apostle, you know that he suffered tremendously for the revelation of Jesus Christ that he carried.  Simply put, Paul was familiar with the cross.  This is what he had to say in regards to why he suffered:

“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church”. -Paul (Col. 1:24)  

Can you believe that he actually had the nerve to say that what he was enduring had something to do with a lack in regards to Christ’s sufferings?  Although it sounds audacious, it’s true. There is something lacking.  The cross of Jesus is lacking a sufficient demonstration.  

Although our Lord loves to tell stories, our Lord isn’t simply a story teller.  He didn’t just break into the created realm, put on human flesh, demonstrate pure love, and then leave us a historical book about it.  No, He had a much better plan.  The highest form of love that can be demonstrated is when one lays down their life for another.  Christ demonstrated this with His very own life when He allowed Himself to be brutally murdered on the cross.  

There was no greater love ever demonstrated than the cross of Jesus Christ.  Although I am not sure why this is the case, I can tell you that the cross served as the breaking of the ultimate dam of love.  The cross of Jesus radically unleashed and expressed love upon the relationships that He had.  

As powerful as this love is, however, the story alone of this heroic act of love is not sufficient for us to truly know love.  Our Lord knew this, and as a result, He knew that we would need to see and experience a demonstration of the cross of Jesus in our own lives and relationships.  This is how the highest demonstration of love truly breaks into our own world.   By placing His life within us, He is Emmanuel (God with us) in every sense of the word.  We live out His death & resurrection in our very own bodies.   

When the cross  is demonstrated to you, or in you, the following components of Christ’s cross will unleash life giving love in an unexplainable way:

1. Through unjust accusations.

In Peter’s letter to the church, he tells believers that suffering for righteousness sake brings a blessing.  I can personally tell you that the ‘blessing’ that Peter was talking about is the supernatural awareness and deepening of love.  Again, I don’t know why this is, but seeing someone (ourselves or another) suffer because of unjust accusations moves and breaks our hearts toward a greater awareness of love.  

For example, both Jesus & Paul were unjustly accused of promoting and teaching destructive and dangerous practices.  I think it’s important to note that those who brought these accusations against them legitimately believed that Jesus & Paul were going to bring dangerous and sinful changes to their way of life.  They felt they had to stop them for the cause of righteousness.    

In the case of Jesus, the religious leaders saw Him as an uneducated & untrained Rabbi who had no regard for their authority.  They were wary of His growing influence among the people and were quite concerned that people were now publicly calling Him the Messiah and king of the Jews.  

The Roman authorities were known for their heavy hand in putting down potential rebellions, and this brought fear to Caiaphas the chief priest.  Because of Jesus’ growing influence, he was certain that the people would be led astray after Him.  Caiaphas feared the Romans would destroy them all for attempting to have another king.  This led to his decision to have Jesus accused and killed.  This is also why Caiaphas said that it is better if one man die in place of the whole nation (John 11:49-51).  Obviously, he didn’t mean that in a good way.  Jesus words about tearing down and rebuilding the temple in three days were also twisted and used against Him.  

In order to have the Romans crucify Jesus, they had to convince Pilot that He was leading a treasonous rebellion against Caesar by claiming to be king of the Jews.  They did their best to make it seem like Jesus was a political revolutionary who was attempting to set up a rival earthly kingdom that would be hostile to Rome’s authority.  This was obviously not the case as Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world’s system.

In the same way, Paul’s words were also twisted to bring accusation against him.  When Paul went to Jerusalem, a riot ensued and the Jews had him arrested and beaten because of the false accusation that he was instructing people to ‘violate the Jewish law’.  Because of Paul’s appeal to live by a new covenant paradigm and not the old, many thought Paul was advocating a fleshly and dangerous lifestyle that would derail God’s people.  Those who brought these accusations against Paul were convinced they were standing up for righteousness by having Paul silenced and put under arrest.  This eventually led to his beheading.  

Those who knew Jesus and Paul personally knew these accusations being made against them were false, but this did not stop the false accusations from having their way.  For love to be fully expressed, these men needed to be falsely accused and murdered in the most humiliating and severe way possible.                         

2. Through voluntary submission.

In order for love to be fully expressed, the injustice of the cross was accepted by the ones being crucified.  Jesus knew who He was.  He also knew what He meant regarding the words He spoke about rebuilding the temple, and the nature of His kingdom.  He did not accept their accusations, nor did He attempt to reason with His accusers.  When He was under His secret trial called late at night, He simply stated the fact of who He was, and He also referred back to His previous teachings.  He did not reason or agree with them, yet He accepted their verdict against Him.    

In a similar way, Paul chose to go to Jerusalem even after he was warned that danger and accusation awaited him there.  After being arrested and beaten, Paul appealed to his rights as a Roman citizen and legally defended himself to the authorities.  This led to his trial and imprisonment being extended almost two years, eventually leading to his death.  Had Paul accepted his accusations and not appealed to his legal defense, he would have been released much sooner.  Love motivated Paul to publicly appeal to the reality of Christ, however.  Paul knew that if he agreed with the accusations being brought against him, many would go right back into the slavery of religion & law all over again.  He did it for love and to embolden those who knew him. His suffering and chains gave them boldness.  

Our Response 

A friend of mine loves to say that love loves to love. Simply put, He loves to express His love to us. Because the cross is the greatest expression of His love to us, know that He seeks to demonstrate His love right into our own world.  Brothers and sisters, the more you know and walk in His love, the more you will be brutally murdered and falsely accused.  The cross will become more than a story to you and those around you.  When this happens to you, please allow it to soften and break your heart.  Let your tears flow.  Love is expressed through a broken heart.  

To be chosen to demonstrate the cross is an honor.  When the brutality of the cross comes to you, consider yourself honored.  Lean into the still small voice of love within you and drink in His love.  As the dam of love cracks and breaks because of His cross, allow His love to wash over you and overtake you.        

If you are witnessing someone you love be crucified for love’s sake, consider yourself honored that the Lord would see fit to demonstrate the cross to you personally.  Consider yourself loved.  Don’t become an accuser as Job’s friends did, nor should you take up the offense of their unjust accusations.  Simply let your heart be broken. Brokenness & love go together.  That’s the point.  Let love wash over you.  Let this demonstration of love unlock you to love freely and more confidently than ever before.  This love, when it has its way, will heal the sick, open wombs, and raise the dead. Our love for one another is the vehicle of this new kingdom.  

Love!

Jamal Jivanjee             

Jamal Jivanjee

Posts Twitter

23 responses to The Problems With The Cross of Jesus (part 2)

  1. Beautiful post bro. “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death” (Phil 3:10).

    • Jamal Jivanjee March 18, 2014 at 5:23 am

      Thanks for reading Ralph. There is no doubt that the Lord has been, and will continue to answer that beautiful prayer. Love you brother.

  2. Beautifully expressed!

    “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of Herod”
    ~Jesus

    • Jamal Jivanjee March 18, 2014 at 5:27 am

      Yes, they both work together to hold on to power and the status quo in the name of ‘protection’ and law. Thanks for the insightful comment Jim.

  3. This is an intensely thought-provoking post. I like how you brought out that the occurrence of the cross is not merely a story left us for the history books. It opens to me a new understanding of what Paul meant in saying, “you are an epistle of Christ, read of all…”. Some may argue that there is nothing lacking in the Scriptures either, but obviously there is an ongoing ‘living’ demonstration of the life of Christ in those with the Word of God abiding in us.

    As far as the “reading” of these living letters, I can attest that witnessing the injustice of the cross lived out in other people’s lives, and also my own, and seeing spiritual life and fruit come out of the brokenness emboldens me in such a way that I can’t explain. It more than just brings the ‘story’ to life. It translates to life. There is even a hard-to-explain redemptive quality to such love-based suffering in the way it applies Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice to others in their trespasses against us, and upon ours we still commit. But the fact of the matter is that we cannot crucify ourselves to this end (which is religion and does nothing for bringing life), and that includes any guilt-based notion of what it means to ‘take up the cross.’ If we are a disciple of Christ we should be aware of not walking in this kind of self-abasement. We follow Christ, and, “as He is, so are we in this world.” Walking in His love will naturally put us where He went, and where He still wants to go. Yes, love loves to love, because it can’t help it. It’s definitely a force to be reckoned with.:)

    • Pamela,

      Your living letter comment brought this verse to mind. It seems Paul’s focus was more on Life in Christ, and the ministry of reconciliation.

      Pondering…

      “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

      • To Live in Christ is to know life & Love. To know Him is to walk as He walked. Vision, and our Fathers heart allow us to be poured out as a drink offering.

        Jamal these words of yours have profound meaning.

        “Simply let your heart be broken. Brokenness & love go together. That’s the point. Let love wash over you. Let this demonstration of love unlock you to love freely and more confidently than ever before. This love, when it has its way, will heal the sick, open wombs, and raise the dead. Our love for one another is the vehicle of this new kingdom.”

        I Love you!

    • Jamal Jivanjee March 18, 2014 at 5:45 am

      Pamela,

      I truly hope all who visit this post read your comment and take what you have said to heart. Thanks for this wisdom filled comment.

  4. I’m completely undone, tears of sadness and unspeakable joy overwhelm me and am filled by the grace and beauty of our Lords love that pours from your heart .

  5. Valuable follow-up to your initial post on the cross. For the past couple of weeks Christ has been narrowing my focus to His cross – which is also mine. I have been undone by His revelations and your post today takes me even deeper. I had never considered my response to observing a brother or sister who is being “crucified for love’s sake”. To be able to stand by and watch and NOT try to rescue them seems initially cruel, but perhaps to take my place at the foot of their cross as John did for Christ and let them know I am there for them might be the greater reality of love. I understand now, more than ever, the cross is a necessity in my death to self. More than a religious symbol of the price He paid, the cross is increasingly a reminder of the life I am honored to lay down that He might increase in and through me. Blessings to you, my brother!

    • Jamal Jivanjee March 18, 2014 at 5:54 am

      Amen Mark, well said brother. I’m glad these posts on the cross has been confirming in regards to some of the things that the Lord has been showing you. I love how He speaks and confirms things to us. Love you brother:)

  6. Kenneth Dawson March 17, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Yea wow such a great post and the comments are good..I don’t know how to respond other than to say your comment about brokenness and love go together and I would add to that that this is what produces agape love.

  7. Was following you until the end where you say “nor should you take up the offense of their unjust accusations.” Wha?? Where in the Bible does it EVER say we just allow people to be unjustly treated? The Abolitionist movement against slavery, the Civil Rights Movement against segregation, the verses throughout the Bible telling us to be a voice for the voiceless and to stand for the oppressed…

    You do realize that silence in the face of oppression only aids the abusers, right? And you do know that organic churches are not beyond becoming spiritually abusive? So then, if someone is being mistreated, ESPECIALLY by a church, we don’t applaud and say “the Cross of Christ is at work in their life!” We stand up and stop abuse. We stand up and stop oppression.

    If I had friends who just looked at me being mistreated and “just let their heart be broken” as you say, and didn’t do anything, then those aren’t friends. Those would be enablers of some of the worst abuse in the world.

    No church or doctrine of God can ever justify spiritual abuse by fellow Christians. If people are experiencing this, I would hope they had friends who would put a stop to it, and not be mere spectators to tragedy.

    • Jamal Jivanjee March 18, 2014 at 6:09 am

      Thank you for reading and for your comment. You bring up some great points. You are right, spiritual abuse is never justified. Love would compell others to stand with our brothers and sisters who are being abused. Thank you for sharing that.

  8. Following Jesus here in the US, there’s not much encouragement from the body the bear unjust suffering. Here seems that the main response is to fight it. . . sue the other, or just get angry and walk. Not that injustice should not be brought to light, but in following, he often calls into places where love in this world calls for the spiritual capacity to bear unjust suffering. So need the meekness of Christ to embrace this and go into things for his sake and for the sake of others. . . thinking it may be the point of things. . . “always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”
    Brothers and sisters who live these things every day under persecution know a genuineness in Christ that we often don’t. North Korean brothers and sisters were asked how we in the west can pray for them. Their response was that they pray for us, that we so count on our material blessings and political rights that we never have known what it is like to completely rely on God, to only have him.
    May be favorite verse where Jesus says, “you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit. . . “. That ‘go’ in the original means to lead yourself under. . . to willingly, wholeheartedly go into those places where he leads that need his love where we need him because there is nothing in us to meet the need.

  9. I so agree there is a need to speak when we see injustice . But as I see more clearly that we’re not just speaking against issues of flesh and blood but against powers and principalities of darkness, I’m understanding that it,s not so much what we speak against ( evil and injustice) but what we speak for , ” the cross of Christ and his great love that sets men’s minds and hearts free and deliver them from darkness into his light . Jesus suffer the greatest spiritual abuse possible and his last words , ” father forgive them , for they know not what they do” speaks volumes of the freeing light of His love against the powers of darkness . I desire to be able to live and speak this when faced with injustice and when I see it come to life in my brothers and sisters, I feel not only their pain but also the power of the resurrection joy and I become overwhelmed and madly intoxicatingly in love .

  10. “”Was following you until the end where you say “nor should you take up the offense of their unjust accusations.” Wha?? Where in the Bible does it EVER say we just allow people to be unjustly treated? The Abolitionist movement against slavery, the Civil Rights Movement against segregation, the verses throughout the Bible telling us to be a voice for the voiceless and to stand for the oppressed… ”

    I had pretty much the same thought. But to make it even more confusing what about Christians/Christian institutions that use and abuse people? I find it very confusing this idea we should rejoice in suffering at the hands of other professing believers. How confusing. I believe the word “love” includes justice as much as mercy.

    I think Paul differentiates between those deceived out of ignorance and those who deceive on purpose in 1 Tim 1. And Paul names names on the latter.

    • Jamal Jivanjee May 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Lydia,

      Thanks for your comment here. I really appreciate what you have shared and I think you actually raise a very valid point. What you have shared is something I think needed to be added to this discussion. I think there is a difference between taking up an offense and being an advocate against injustice. The latter can flow from the Lord’s heart & Spirit in us, but the former is foreign to His nature. Thanks again for the comment.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. The Problems With The Cross of Jesus (part 1)  | Jamal Jivanjee - March 17, 2014

    [...] UPDATE: The Problems With The Cross of Jesus (part 2) [...]

Leave a Reply

*


two × 8 =

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>