The Crux of Everything!
My Dear Friend in Christ:
As we continue our way through the Gospel according to Matthew, the events celebrated this month does require us to jump to the end of Matthew’s narrative. So we will deviate from our chronological progress through Matthew this one time. For it is Easter, the birth of a new age, a new dawning for humanity. And if you believe that is overstating what we as Christians are commemorating this month, you would be wrong. It may not be declaring what occurred strongly enough.
For example the word crux, is from the Latin word which means cross. But the word itself, crux, has come to mean “the decisive or most important point at issue.” The events of the cross and resurrection are the most decisive or important point of history, civilization, and let’s be forthright, the most important issue for the future. Everything that matters for humanity centers in these events. Because here portrayed in stark unavoidable colors are the nature, desire, and reality of God. Here for all to see is the love of God for our atonement, our adoption as His children, our own victory over death, our ultimate destiny, and more a love that is beyond our ability to describe or understand.
A love that empowers us to be more than conquerors, for as Paul relays there is nothing that can “separate us from that love of God;” “not death or life,” “not things present or things to come,” nothing of this creation, nothing that Satan can conjure up, nothing (Rm. 8:37-39)! This same Paul will in a rhapsody, a rapture of praise and inspiration describe in some detail this kind of love, and that it will “never end” (1 Cor. 13:4-8). It is a truth that has been the attraction, the prevailing evangelistic force of our Christian faith. And this proclamation of God’s love has literally “forced” every other belief system on this planet to pay at least lip-service in their own so-called belief to some such love. Forcing them to bend what they actually believe, or ignore large swaths of their own “holy” writings to declare that they too, like Christianity, are a religion of peace and love.
However, there is only one religion that is peace and love, and it is on display this month with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And if He left that tomb, then there can be no problem with His healings or anything He is reported as doing? This is the event that defines our faith, and the preaching of this event has made Christianity the one world-wide religion. Here is the event that inspires millions to dedicate their lives to service, even unto death. Here is the event that so galvanized and altered the lives of a handful of men that they would stunned the foundations of The Jewish religion, and eventually overcome the greatest of the ancient empires, Rome. It would be said of them, “They turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).
Why? Because they saw something, experienced something that would overwhelm their senses. They would meet their friend, the one they travel with, ate with, heard teach countless times, and yes, saw Him touch the lepers and make them clean, the lame and see them walk, the deformed and see them made whole, touch the blind and then they could see, and even stopping funeral processions. Yet they knew He had been cruelly crucified, murdered, yet now He stood before them, even ate before them to calm their fears (Lk. 24:43).
This entire events is so unique. There is nothing like it taught anywhere, and it birthed a movement that would be irresistible, and still is, as it grows in East Asia, throughout Africa, the Americas, even Europe now and in Arab lands. This is so because it is inspired, and enabled by God’s Spirit. It can never be irrelevant, never without answers, never without a vibrant witness, the kind that cannot be silenced. Our detractors, the critics, skeptics, and atheists will never understand why this Christian faith does not fade away, disappeared as it should in this age of science, rationalism, and materialism. It simply doesn’t because, “He is risen Indeed.” And that is the “decisive point.”
Oh, that we might always proclaim The Crux of the matter,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt