One thing we may all share in common as human beings is a desire to avoid pain, suffering, agony and above all – death! Why then would anyone ever choose to embrace death on a cross? Yet it is very clear that for Jesus the cross was no accident. He was not taken by surprise or victimized by mob rule. In Matthew 16 Jesus makes the deliberate decision to go to Jerusalem and foretold to his disciples the events that would unfold, even though they could not accept it. As Jesus said to his disciples, “It is necessary.” Compelled by God’s holy love for us, Christ chose to endure the cross as an act of faithful submission to God. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:1). Looking beyond the sacrifice Christ saw the joy of seeing God’s kingdom and peace restored in full. As Christ’s followers we too are called to participate in the cross. We do this when we ourselves choose to embrace submission to God over and above all other desires and concerns. What may at first seem have seemed like something to fear and avoid, instead becomes the door through which we free ourselves of our own concerns and embrace the fullness of belonging to the eternal God and King of the Universe.
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