Here’s a quick thought that ran through my head and I did not want to abandon, in case it escaped me. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Please comment, like, share!
The sad truth is that many are ready to rejoice with Christ in glory, and they forsake participation with Christ via the cross. It has become a game of pick and choose in which comments and mention of glory are seen as literal; yet talk and mention of the cross and suffering, must be seen as figurative.
We live in a world in which we seek to carry a velvet cross with padding and wheels, Why have we as a society chosen to side with the rich young man who says they have given all, when at a closer look what we have given is simply that which causes us discomfort. Are individuals who give what means nothing, really presenting a life as a living sacrifice?
We are not called to die with Christ in the sense that we decide to follow him and that is all. To “be crucified with Christ” is to deny oneself, not to simply deny one’s sinfulness. To be a follower of Christ is to deny our take on life, in favor of the theology of the cross.
If there is ever an example of denying oneself it would be found in Jesus,”let this cup pass from me if possible,” (paraphrase) he cried out. But without hesitation, and cup in hand, he faced suffering, denial of his desires to empower and strengthen others.
During Passover and Easter, Christians as a whole, place emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus; sometimes at the price of overlooking the Passion of Christ (suffering from the Latin “pathos”). In doing so, we forget that the work of the cross is not entirely the resurrection–although it is the completion of his work and the hope–but also on the suffering and denial of himself and his power.
So as we approach Easter, let it serve as a reminder and hopefully a calibrator which reorients our minds not only on the finished work of Christ, but on what his life and denial of self accomplished; for it is what we are constantly called to imitate.
We are not called to imitate his resurrection, we are called to imitate his denial of self and self sacrificing love. It is not us who glorifies, but Christ who glorifies us, in our faith in him, and our imitation of his denial, as evident in the entirety of his passion.