“Because of this, God highly exalted Him.” –Philippians 2:9
The cross is the ultimate symbol of shame and defeat, both the public shaming of a criminal and an agonizing, slow death. Jesus overturned the defeat of the cross and has transformed the cross into a symbol of victory. Many Christians wear a cross around their necks as a sign of victory for all who believe in Jesus crucified and risen.
The serpent mounted on a pole is a “type” of the cross. The serpents in the desert were an instrument of death for the Hebrews, but became a sign of life once mounted on the pole. Our lives are to be such a sign also. “Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed. While we live we are constantly being delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor 4:10-11). We deny our very selves, take up our daily cross (Lk 9:23), and crucify ourselves to the world (Gal 6:14). To those living under the influence of the world, the flesh, and the devil (1 Jn 2:16), we seem dead, yet we are for them like that serpent mounted on the pole, or Jesus hanging on the cross. When those who dismiss us are hurting, it is we to whom they may turn for compassion, healing, or encouragement.
“Mercy triumphs over judgment” (Jas 2:13). The crucified Jesus triumphs over death, sin, and pride. Jesus has overcome the world (Jn 16:33). We have to celebrate and rejoice (Lk 15:32). Jesus has won the victory. Carrying our cross leads to risen life and triumph. In Jesus crucified, we are more than conquerors (Rm 8:37). Alleluia!
PRAYER: Jesus, keep me “near the cross.”
PROMISE: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life.” —Jn 3:16
PRAISE: “We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.”