Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Cross To Calvary

The Cross To Calvary

Jesus Christ was tortured and beaten beyond recognition. He had not the form of a man. What a band of soldiers did to him in a over a thirty hour period without sleep is unimaginable.Truly the cross he carried bore our sickness, our disease, and our sorrows. Beaten beyond the point where anyone could look upon him, unable to move, they dragged him to the hill while another followed behind carrying the wooden cross of crucifixion and death.

Isaiah 52:14
Everyone was afraid of the way that he looked. He did not even look human. Nobody would recognise him as a man.

The cross that Christ carried to Calvary was the spiritual cross bearing the sins of the world. He touched the wooden cross when they crucified him and nailed his hands and feet and set it upright for all to see.

John 19:17
And he bearing his cross, went forth to the place called [Place] of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha;

What cross? The spiritual cross of sickness, pain, bondage and sin. John was speaking in a metaphor. (The word for bearing in the Greek used in John and Luke is bastazo).

Luke 14:27
And whosoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Again, a figure of speech. Not a wooden cross. They tried yet in the end could not bear it.

Luke 5:11
And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all , and followed him.

Matt 26:56
Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.

They dropped the cross. Not the wooden one but the heavier one. The spiritual one with the weight. The phrase “bear his cross” was a common expression in Jesus time for describing ones taking on the responsibility of doing another’s will.

Matt 10:38
And he that taketh not his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Mark 8:34
Whomsoever will come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Jesus was not speaking of a wooden cross nor was John.

Mark 10:21
take up the cross and follow me.

Luke 9:23
If any man will come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Thank God we are no longer asked to bear our cross. The cross represents what he accomplished for us. Since we became born again we are a new creation free from that cross bearing burden.

Gal 6:14,15
God forbid that I should glory in the cross of Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified … for in Christ we are a new creation.

The weight of the cross is no longer upon us. It is finished. By bearing his spiritual cross and nailing it to the wooden one he gave us the victory.

Col 2:14
Having put an end to the handwriting of the law which was against us, taking it out of the way by nailing it to his cross.

The Gospel period was still under the law. We are no longer under the law which was the weight of an unbearable cross.

Heb 12:2,3
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…

The traditional teaching is that Christ carried the wooden cross part way and then the soldiers compelled Simon of Cyrene to carry it the rest of the way. It is depicted that way in paintings and movies and is embedded in Christianity. However, the following verses tell us different.

Matt 27:31-32
And after they (the soldiers) had mocked him, they took the robe off from him and put his outer garments on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out , they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

Mark 15:20-21
And when they mocked him , they took off the purple from him. and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by…to bear his cross.

Luke 23:26
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian…and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after (behind or following) Jesus.

All these verses indicate that immediately upon leaving the judgement hall the soldiers made Simon bear the wooden cross. The word after in Luke is different than the word after in Matthew. Strong's concordance says behind or from the rear. The word led
can also be translated carried. Knowing his weakened condition they most likely carried his upper body dragging the rest. Also the word bear in all these verses is different than the word bastazo in John. The word bastazo is never used in the Bible in reference to bearing a literal wooden cross.

As tradition often does it has taken the one verse from John and one word from Luke and magnified it above the many clear verses. Apparent contradictions are stumbling blocks for those who are seeking an excuse not to believe the Bible. Like the traditional teaching of dying on Good Friday and resurrected on Sunday morning not adding up to 3 days and 3 nights. For those who do not research or understand how, it is understandable to be confused or challenge traditional teaching. But shame on the theologians and religious leaders who do not correct these errors in favor of supporting and disguising tradition as truth and then defending their error and promoting it in Bible footnotes and commentaries.
Jesus rebuked the theologians and religious leaders 2000 years ago for the same thing:

Matt 15:2,3.6
…Why do you transgress the word of God with your tradition?
…Thus have you made the word of God of none effect by your tradition.

It’s God’s desire for us to have the truth. Only then do you have the word of God. 1 Tim 2:4

1 Corin 13:7
For the love of God rejoices in the truth.

So should we.

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