What frames your life? What parameters establish your direction and influence your choices? As we choose to frame our lives by the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and life direct our steps, giving us context and foundation. Rather than an annual weekend celebration, the reality of Easter should color our entire lives with hope and assurance.
Who is the first person you desire to talk with every morning? The first One on your mind? Is it God? Or do we, like many others, scroll through social media and check emails before we give Him thought or place. That first conversation, no matter how simple, acknowledges God’s place and active participation in all we are and do.
The daily spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading and meditation, connection with other believers, and even communion, ground us in Christ’s finished work of the cross. For good reason, the first Christians established these basic tenants of faith early in church’s history.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer . . . Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”
The breaking of bread became a tangible reminder of the New Covenant they now enjoyed. Many of these men and women became amazing giants of faith. If they framed “every day” by the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, should it be any less important for us?
Boast in Him
On the cross, Jesus declared each one of us precious enough to die for. Yet without Him, we have nothing to boast about. ALL honor, glory, power, and praise belong to Him. Only in humility are we rightly positioned before Him. And well it should be! All our boasting points completely toward Jesus.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians,
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; (and) not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ ”
1 Corinthians 1:26-30
Paul closes his letter to the Galatian church in a similar manner.
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.“
We find an inexplicable paradox in the cross. Jesus Christ is everything; we are nothing. Yet, He became nothing, to give us everything. Such realization grounds and secures us. The cross and resurrection deems humanity of unspeakable value, despite personal frailty and failure.
The Cross and Resurrection
By daily celebrating Easter’s reality, we remember the cross and resurrection, allowing God to remind us both where we came from and where we are going — from the dead root to living hope. May we never forget how Christ’s death and resurrection rescued us from hopelessness and brought us into a confident future. Jesus removed our sins from us, cancelling our great debt and bridging the gap between God and humanity. His resurrection thunder-clapped through Heaven and Earth His indisputable victory over sin, satan, and death.
By framing each day by the cross and resurrection, we remind ourselves that our lives are not our own. Jesus purchased us at a costly price. God uses these defining events to remind us that to follow Jesus means choosing the way of sacrifice.
“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
We are forgetful and need a constant reminder of all God has done. The Israelites suffered from the same condition. The early Christians did too. Just because Christ suffered for us doesn’t mean all suffering has ended. Jesus and the other writers of the epistles spoke otherwise.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So whether our days turn out supremely joyous or far from it, when we frame each day by the cross and resurrection, everything assumes proper perspective. Christ’s victory over-shadows everything! Today is but a millisecond in the vast time-line of eternity.
When a sports team wins a championship, a grand celebration often follows. The triumphant team hits the major news feeds. Families celebrate! Communities celebrate! Strangers even celebrate! Why? Everyone loves to see a decisive victory.
By framing each day by the cross and resurrection, we join once again in the celebration of the greatest victory ever.
” When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Jesus hung naked, publicly degraded, and humiliated. But then . . . through His sinless sacrifice, He disarmed every evil power and authority, exposing them before Heaven and Earth to humiliation and shame. The enemy’s signature move became his greatest defeat.
“The resurrection is not the reversal of a defeat but the manifestation of the victory Jesus won on the cross for you and me.”
The cross and resurrection declare God’s glory, power, and dominion. Jesus transferred His victory to become our victory. And every victory we experience is His — through Him, for Him, and by Him.
It is Finished!
Perhaps Jesus’ greatest statement from the cross lay in these few words,
“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit.”
Our limited understanding hinders us from comprehending how completely Jesus accomplished every assignment the Father had given Him. Everything that sin and rebellion stole, Jesus bought back. All Jesus needed to do was die — the Sinless for the guilty, the Prince of Peace for the turbulent, and the Obedient for the disobedient. He went far beyond!
” ‘He himself bore our sins‘ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ “
1 Peter 2:24
The cross declares again and again, “It is finished! Stain of sin go! Incurable wound be healed! Broken in mind and spirit be restored! Sickness and disease bow! Captives, be free!” Though circumstances may try to convince us otherwise, the cross and resurrection declare the work is finished — for good, for ever.
So Much More
This is no legal requirement! Framing every day by the cross and resurrection celebrates how God empowers us to walk with strength not our own, with faith He freely gives, with courage amidst our battles, and with grace piled upon grace.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ From the dead.”
1 Peter 1:3
The cross and resurrection stand as a framework to all generations and peoples. They bring every aspect of life and faith into focus. Jesus transferred to all who would believe “new birth into a living hope.”
Does living hope define us? When others look our way, do they see the vibrancy of Christ’s life in and through us — both the death to the old and alive to the new? As we consistently celebrate and frame our lives by the cross and resurrection, I believe they will.