- John 12:32 (NKJV) And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.
I was privileged once again to spend Thanksgiving with my parents. One evening I logged on to my mother’s computer using my own usher name. As a result the screen saver showed pictures of my family—pictures that I had put on mom’s computers over the last few years.
Usually the computer is on under mom’s user account and so the pictures never come up. But because I had logged on under my user name they showed up as a scrolling screen saver. My dad happened to see them, was enthralled by them and thus sat down and began to watch the pictures scroll by.
After about 30 minutes the computer went in to “sleep mode” and dad could no longer view the pictures. Not knowing that all he had to do was “jiggle the mouse” and the pictures would start again, (that term would mean nothing to him!), went and found me and asked me to turn on the pictures again. Of course I obliged and even sat with him and enjoyed the pictures with him.
But the next day something far better happened—some of the “pictures” came to visit. Well not pictures exactly—it was the real live people (Lee and his family). That afternoon dad’s house was alive with the pitter-patter of little feet, little voices, and little arms willing to hug “Papa Kemp” (and eat Grandmother Kemp’s sweets!).
The pictures were great—but they were snapshots of past events; life had moved on. Far better than walking down memory lane was walking in the present with the actual people who were in those pictures.
In the same way, when Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself”, he was teaching a very important principle.
The important principle is this—the ONE THING: Jesus’ death on the Cross was not to draw us to the Cross but to Himself.
Living our lives in the shadow of the Cross is a recipe for living in the crazy cycle of sinning, repenting, feeling better, and then sinning all over again.
Instead of living in the shadow of the Cross; we are called to live in the presence of Jesus.
The Cross was a snapshot; a moment in time, when you as a Christian were “born-again”. As important as that event was you are not meant to live there.
Remember it? By all means.
Honor it? Most certainly—that birthday is far more important than your first birthday.
Live your life in light of the Cross; but move on—follow Jesus; live in his presence; keep company with Him.
Think about it this way:
The Cross reminds us of what we were; living in the Presence of Jesus reminds us of what we are becoming.
The Cross reminds us of where we were; living in the Presence of Jesus reminds us of where we are going.
Never forget where the Cross is—there will be occasions when you must revisit that sacred place and repent, reboot, and restart. But live there? No! Run after Jesus!
I’m afraid far too many Christians are content with living in the shadow of the Cross. Their lives are a testimony to God’s mercy and grace but little else.
Living in the presence of Jesus brings victory over sin, sorrow, and death.
Living in the presence of Jesus brings the power of the Holy Spirit.
Occasionally, it is good to sit down and look at the snapshots of past events; but being with the real person in the present is far more fulfilling.
Thank God for the Cross, but why seek you the living among the dead? Jesus is alive and victorious and in his presence so will you be.