THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
Exalting in the Cross of Christ
The Cross of Christ is the deepest expression of the fear of the Lord (Prov.9:10). No wonder the Father twice referred to Jesus as “My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased (Matt.3:17; 17:5). Christ Jesus, out of profound humility, meekness and obedience towards the Father was never afraid of achieving perfection through suffering in obedience to the will of his Father (Heb.2:10). Humility and obedience described the ultimate bond between the Father and the Son. The utterances of Jesus are testimonies of this truth, especially when Jesus said “I came not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me (Jn.6:38) and, “My food is to do the will of my Father (Jn.4:34).” On a more forceful note, Jesus presented himself as a servant who came into the world to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk.10:45). In this way, Jesus glorified the Father in himself and the Father exalted on the Cross.
The Son, according to Philippians 2:6-11 never vacillated in obeying the will of his Father even when it was difficult for him to do so in his human estate. Jesus’ own expressions tell there were times when the human side of him struggled with the Father’s demands. There are two typical examples: when he pleaded with his Father to take the cup of suffering from him and in the same tone, he conceded, “Father not my will but your will be done (Lk.22:42).” Again, on the Cross-he cried out “My God, My God why have you forsaken me (Matt.27:46)” but later that day he countered, “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit (Lk.23:64).” Yes! The Cross of Christ Jesus is an idiom of love, humility, obedience, servanthood and the way to exaltation with Christ Jesus (1Cor.1:18).
Paul concluded his discourse on the humility and obedience of Christ Jesus by saying God rewarded Christ by exalting and giving him a name above all names and that every knee must bow down before him and worship him. What does that notion of being made perfect through suffering means to us today – especially as we celebrate "The Exaltation of the Holy Cross"?
History has kept a strict account of the arrogance and disobedience of humankind in their relationship with God and the consequences of their actions. In every story, where and when either the community or the individuals walked away from the divine concept and purpose God had in mind for them, the floodgates of woes overwhelmed them. Beginning with the flood (Gen.6:6-8:22), the tower of Babel (Gen.11:1-19, the Exile into Babylon (Ps.137), the fiery serpent in the desert (Num.21:4-9), the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen.19:1-29), the tragedy of Judas (Matt.27:1-10) and the fiasco of the prodigal son (Lk.15:11-32). Those who disobey the will of God always impose unnecessary suffering upon themselves and even then, God stands to peer through the gates of heaven awaiting their return home to glorify them in the Son.
The Cross of Christ, in other words, gives us a definitive understanding and purposefulness of the virtues of pure love, humility, obedience, and stewardship in the vineyard of the Lord, and finally, redemptive suffering. The Cross is a symbol of upholding God’s will as the ultimate value which defines the divine dimension in humankind who was created to share in the divinity of God in obedience to his will as Christ demonstrated on the Cross.
O God, teach me the humility and obedience of your Beloved Son and I will unconditionally embrace the cross you place on my shoulder.