By Pst. John Musyimi
Three months ago we took time during Easter to focus on those events that are central to our faith as followers of Jesus Christ. We focused afresh on His atoning death on Calvary’s cross, His burial in Joseph’s tomb and His triumphant resurrection from the dead. This was important because these facts ought to fill our hearts with a fresh joy and wonder. Good Christians ought to take time to meditate on the cross and truth of the suffering Christ because therein lies the power to help us overcome the challenges of this life. Isn’t this what is taught in Hebrews 12:1-3, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart..”
Concerning the marriage series we have been looking at in the past few weeks in Mamlaka, how does meditating on the cross of Christ help us to triumph over our relationship issues?
You see, the cross of Christ is God’s decisive answer to the problem of sin and its devastating power over us. In fact there at the cross is really the only true hope for that failing marriage, or that strained relationship with a child, or that estrangement with a friend etc.
In what way then does the cross help with our troubled relationships? Here are three main ones
- The Cross Impresses upon us the necessity and power of forgiveness:
The Cross of Jesus Christ tells us that we are forgiven people and impresses upon us the necessity of forgiving those who have wronged us. As he died, Jesus prayed ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing’-Luke 23.34. Before the cross, we see Jesus pleading forgiveness for those who were in the process of killing Him. By his death, that forgiveness was purchased and all who look to Christ for forgiveness receive it by faith. Having thus been forgiven, here is a call to us to extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us and seek it from those we have wronged. That might just make all the difference to set your troubled relationship on a path of healing.
2. The Cross Challenges us to pay the price for reconciliation’s sake:
As Christians, we know that Jesus died to bring us back to God. We are glad that he did so because otherwise we would be doomed forever. We celebrate that he endured the shame of the cross, the pain of it, and most painful of all, the temporary separation from His father while incurring His displeasure and wrath. He did all that! That tells us that reconciliation is not cheap. Well, there is a challenge for us. The Cross tells us that in order to be truly reconciled, we must be willing to pay a price, we must let go of our pride and ego (as painful as that may be), we must be willing to make those sacrifices and compromises at the office, or of our careers and so on in order to be reconciled with our loved ones. Could this be a challenge to you? To follow your Lord’s example and lay yourself aside for them?
3. The Cross gives us hope that impossible circumstances can be restored by God’s resurrection power:
I get it. Sometimes the hurt is too bad, the wrong done so severe that it all seems impossible. I am familiar with the lack of internal energy to forgive or pay the price of reconciliation. Then there is the unwillingness of the other party to work things out. They may even have walked out. It is, to put it bluntly, dead. But, dear friend, here lies the real glory of the Cross. Jesus having been mocked, beaten, killed and buried rose from the grave!
His disciples had lost all hope; He had looked so weak and helpless and then there was that huge rock rolled over his tomb. But God raised Him from the dead! That says to us that there is nothing too dead for God. Paul in Ephesians 1.19-20 says that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us who believe. That same power, he asserts, is at work within us (Ephesians 3.20). Therefore, we can have real hope for resurrection of what has died and been buried. We can on account of Christ’s mediation, approach God’s throne and plead with Him for a fresh infusion of power forgive, to reconcile and even to believe that our troubled relationships can be restored and thrive.
Thus come to the Cross. Come to it with fresh hope for your relationships. Look to Christ on the cross, in the grave and risen triumphant and there see the rivers of grace that flow to you. Amen.