I was visiting one of our European Centres recently, and while I was there the team were involved in the erection of a large wooden cross in a prominent place on the site. The cross had originally been a dead oak tree in the woods on the property, and this was felled and sent to a saw mill. It came back in the form of two large square logs.
One of the team set to work with a chain saw and other tools. He made the logs into an old-looking cross shape, supporting it horizontally, a little off the ground, while he worked on it. A base was made to fix the cross to, and then a vehicle with a hydraulic arm came to lift the cross into place.
The problem was that the lifting vehicle was only just strong enough to lift the cross, which was about 8 metres long and extremely heavy. After a lot of struggle, effort and skill from the driver, the cross was eventually positioned, where it made an impressive statement about the purpose and focus of the work of Ellel Ministries in that place.
All this made me think of the original cross of Jesus and the work completed there. I wonder if we take the process for granted, not realising the huge amount of effort involved. For God nothing is impossible, but was it an easy thing for the Father to conceive of the plan to have the Son crucified? Or did Jesus take up His cross on that road we call the Via Dolorosa without any effort? Jesus must have experienced acute pain when He was nailed to the cross beam, and then as they lifted up the wooden structure and allowed Him to hang there in excruciating torment. The Scriptures tell us it was an enormous sacrifice, and a cosmic work of grace to make it so.
When Jesus was lifted up from the earth, there was a struggle going on. Unlike the tractor lifting the wooden cross that I saw God was more than able to carry out His purposes, but it still took extreme effort, and, of course, love, to see it all through. I so easily miss thinking about the ‘practical’ or physical hard work of God involved in my salvation as I read of the familiar events in the Gospel. In reality my salvation and yours had a huge cost, not only in the death and resurrection of Jesus, but in the process of carrying it out. Thank You, God, for doing all that for me!
Prayer: Thank You, my Father, for conceiving of such an enormously costly plan for our sakes, and thank You for the huge effort it took for You to go through with the plan. Thank You, Jesus, that You declared we’re worth it, and for being prepared to put so much of Yourself into that supreme struggle at the cross. Amen.
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