Catch the Current
Your Easter I.D. -- Part Two: Crucified with Christ
One of the reasons we exhibit very little spiritual power is because we are unwilling to accept and experience the fellowship of the Savior's sufferings, which means acceptance of His cross.
- A.W. Tozer
"May I see your I.D.?" These are familiar words to us today in our security-conscious world. Before boarding an airplane, the most important item we must have in our possession is some legitimate form of identification. Otherwise, we won't be allowed on the flight.
Someday at heaven's gates, we will be checked to make sure we have the correct "identification" as well. I call it our Easter I.D. When we have a correct Easter I.D. we live our lives in view of His, the way God wants us to—as "hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3, NIV).
The events in that final week of Jesus' ministry on earth—the Garden, the Cross, and the Resurrection—serve as a roadmap of reassurance for us. When we have a correct Easter I.D. we do more than simply believe in Jesus Christ; we identify with Him and correlate the events in our lives to the events in His.
Christ crucified: He identified with us
Jesus' life and ministry on this planet were all about identification—identification with mankind, with you and with me. From His humble manger birth to the wilderness temptations, He identified with our humanness, our struggles and our weaknesses. As the Bible says, "We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin (Hebrews 4:15, The Message)."
Against the horrible backdrop of Christ's cross, something glorious stood out like a brilliant diamond against a black-velvet display case. The harder Jesus' body was hit with grief and torture, the more His radiant spirit shone, especially seen in the three prayers He prayed from the cross:
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).
On the cross Jesus displayed such a loving perspective. Nothing is more loving, or more difficult, than forgiveness. Jesus looked into the faces of His mocking executioners and felt compassion for them. He looked beyond their cursing mouths and saw tongues yet untamed; He looked beyond the pounding of the nails and saw hammer-holding hands yet un-cleansed; He looked beyond impassioned anger and saw hearts He came to save.
Jesus had every right at the cross to judge those men who wounded Him, to annihilate them for their blasphemies and crimes. He chose instead to forgive. What we deserved was judgment; what we needed was forgiveness. Jesus forgave freely. The diamond sparkled, but few on earth even noticed.
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34).
On the cross Jesus asked a desperate question of His Heavenly Father; not the question I would have expected, certainly not from the Son of God. I would have expected something more like the one He asked at Gethsemane—one directed to His disciples, such as: Why have you men forsaken Me? I saved you from sea storms and sickness. Why in My darkest hour of need would you forsake and reject Me?
But Jesus' deepest question was not for the friends around Him, but for a Father above Him. These were the most haunting words Jesus ever spoke: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
Robert Crosby is an author and Professor of Practical Theology at Southeastern University. Read his interview with Bobby Gruenewald, the Founder of YouVersion.com (the Bible App) and related articles at Christianity Today—The New Engagers and The Social Network Gospel.
Robert Crosby is the author of the new book, The Teaming Church: Ministry in the Age of Collaboration (Abingdon Press). Crosby's column, "Catch the Current," is published every other Tuesday on the Evangelical portal. Subscribe via email or RSS.