“Seen in the light of the Easter dawn, the cross is revealed to be the lost Tree of Life. In the middle of a world dominated by death, the Tree of Life is rediscovered in the form of a Roman cross.”-Brian Zahnd
I know, I know, Easter already happened, but let’s just picture it all together.
It’s Thursday and Jesus has just finished dinner with His closest friends. He heads to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. While praying He asks His Father if this cup might be taken from Him and ends the prayer by saying “Not my will, but yours be done.” He is arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin for crimes He did not commit.
On a Friday unlike any other Friday that ever was, or ever would be, He walks the long and windy to Golgotha. After being beaten and spat upon, He carries the beam that would become the cause of his asphyxiation upon his back. He follows this path that He knows will only lead to His death in the immediate moment.
This is the Jesus we that we read about, yet for so many of us, this is not the Jesus that we follow. We have forgotten the Jesus of the Cross and remembered Him only as the Jesus of Resurrection. It’s as if we have forgotten the true power of our faith, a power of which Jesus was pretty bold to speak, this is the power of submission and surrender. I often reflect on His parables and how he describes the nature of the Kingdom of God: a mustard seed spreading, growing and housing the fowl of the air; yeast working through dough; these are not the victorious symbols of empires many of us have come to expect.
Yes, I know that the cross isn’t where the story ends and I believe that the resurrection power of God is at work in the world that we live in, I see it being put on display regularly, but what I am arguing is that we have lost sight of the cost of resurrection. The resurrection power was put on display because Jesus surrendered His life upon the cross. We must be willing to surrender if we want to see the work of God accomplished among us.
Somewhere between the first century and now, the church has allowed itself to be hijacked by the idea that we are to be the masters of our own destiny and the captains who determine our own fate, but this is not what I see in the life of Jesus. I see a man who allowed Himself to be hung upon a cross and forgave the people who were killing him. I see a man who loved Judas knowing what he would go on to do. I see a man who gave up equality with God to walk among us and show us the better way to live.
I have come to see surrender as the basis of my faith but it isn’t a one time thing, it is a daily attitude of the heart.
We have come to believe that we have rights that we must hold on to them with all of our might, but I am starting to believe that these perceived rights are actually destroying us. I believe the true nature of freedom is found in surrender and we must learn anew how to let go of the things that we hold on to ever so tightly (especially if those things that we hold on to oppress others.)
I can sit here all day and talk about how unfair life can be, or I can choose to surrender my wills and wants to the Father and allow Him to point me in the direction of resurrection power. Fairness was never really a biblical principle though was it. No, fairness took a backseat to blessing, but pay attention to whom the blessing was given. When the people of Israel stopped surrendering their hearts to God, the blessing departed from them and was found in the nations around them. So often we miss these things and forget that the economy of God is very different from the economy of man. This is the beautiful paradox of my faith:
What the world calls life is actually death to me and what the world calls death is actually life!
For me to fully live the life that will be the most fulfilling and beautiful life I can lead, I must learn to lay things down, or as Jesus says it, I must learn to carry my cross daily. This begins at baptism and continues throughout the journey of life, surrendering more and more of ourselves to die with Christ that we might too be raised with Him in resurrection power. Once we have walked through death and come out the other side, we are given the power to raise dead things to life. I think a lot of people are seeking resurrection life without any hint of surrender and I am just not sure how that actually works out…
I want my heart posture to always be one of surrender; to always live from a place of saying yes to the things that God is doing. To wildly and passionately yield my will to His, that His Kingdom would be rooted and established in and through me! May we seek the surrendered heart of Jesus today and give Him everything we have been holding back, that we might know the true freedom and power of surrender!