The “Crux” of the Matter

by Rev. M.Barnes, Former Pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church of Warsaw

The False Hope of Facebook Memes vrs The Only Hope in Christ

“It sounds wonderful! It is so full of promise and hope!”

And you do everything you are told to do. You “like” it. You “Share it.” You relax. You did what you were told to do. Now great things will happen and your life will be at ease, just like it promised!

And nothing happens.

What did you do wrong? You thought everything was going to be okay. But nothing changed. No special influx of cash. No special healing for disease. Maybe your faith is just not up to snuff. Maybe you should get your mind and faith right before you offer God your Facebook post and expect Him to honor it. Or maybe this whole “God thing” is fake. Or maybe God doesn’t exist. Or maybe He does, and He just doesn’t care.

Is that what Christ is all about? Prosperity? Complication free life? Have you reduced Him and His working in your life to a posting on Facebook?!?!

When the Word of God is not a part of your life, it becomes very easy to fall for the quick fix of the Facebook postings, or the prosperity teachings of the modern false prophets. “God wants you to be prosperous in all you do, just follow these steps and the good life is yours!” But God doesn’t respond.

“He was despised and rejected by men.” His life became more and more “complicated” with slow to learn disciples and official opposition until He was finally betrayed, abandoned, and denied. He was falsely accused, savagely beaten, humiliated, crucified, forsaken by God, and died in agony.

As with the Master… Following Pentecost, His apostles left behind everything of their old life. They proclaimed Jesus as Savior and Lord. They proclaimed resurrection and victory over sin and death and the devil in Jesus. Yet they were opposed, falsely accused, savagely beaten, publically humiliated, and put to death in horrific ways (except John). And so also many of His disciples in every age.

It was only after the cross that there was for Jesus the glory of the resurrection, the ascension to the right hand of the Father, and the promise of return in that glory. His apostles proclaimed His cross and the promise of His glory. His disciples continue to proclaim it in joy and hope, even as they walked the pilgrimage to that Promised Land through every cross and trial.

In this world we remain “aliens and strangers in a strange land”. The world hates us. The world continues to be a place of corruption, decay, and death. And we are reminded of that as you follow the pilgrimage of Jesus in this life, you follow it in its entirety. The life of this world is not good, and shall never be great. You suffer. You die. Yet it is in suffering and death that the life hidden in you, Christ’s life, is fully revealed. Then comes resurrection. Then comes the glory earned by Christ and given to you.

As disciples of Jesus you are called upon by Him to bear a cross in His name, yet you bear it in victory, not in prosperity. He promised you nothing in this life like that. He did say that the victory is His and the evil is defeated. The promise of the resurrection and new life that comes from Him to you comes through His cross (what He has done for you) and not through your cross (what you do for Him). The victory follows the cross and death and into the resurrection on the Last Day and forever.

Don’t look for cheap ways out of the evils of this life. Instead rely on His grace, which is sufficient for you in all things, and power of God at work in the weakness of your existence. That is when you will have true freedom, and true peace.

Pastor Barnes

(Crux Sola est Nostra Theologia; the Cross Alone is Our Theology)