“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
MAN, BEFORE CHRIST, did not look at the cross except as an instrument of torture and killing. Its mention terrorized him. But when God chose that His Son be hung on the cross to bleed and die the death of an offering, it changed the image of the cross in men’s minds. Because Christ’s death on the cross was reckoned a sin offering for the world and His blood a redemption for every man. Faith in the cross as the death of redemption for every human soul became honored and glorified to the extent that the cross was donned worn around necks and placed in the crown of kings. That which increased the awe of the cross was its use to get rid of demons that began to fear the cross even if it were in the hands of a child. Thus the cross entered the world by becoming a source of glory and pride worn by people and in the crowns of kings as a sign of victory on the one hand, and on the other hand some people began to use it to get rid of the demons through a Divine and victorious power.
The cross has now become a point of pride and esteem as the sign of faith and a testimony of Christ’s dominion over the world and the devil. Through practical experience those who believe in Christ now use the cross in their lives as a sign of victory and triumph over the devil and all his acts. At the same time they gain from it power and victory over the world so that the world is conquered. In a divine elevated meaning they consider that to them the whole world was crucified, nay they consider themselves crucified to the world.
The world being crucified means that its original power came to an end and all its amusements and carnal passions have died from man’s point of view as if they had been crucified to the soul.
As man considers himself crucified to the world, this means that the world’s temptations, its amusements and riches and power, are no more of any value in such a person’s point of view.
We thus see that both meanings bear a sweeping power over the world in man’s point of view. It is a dual expression of extremely deep meaning and is what God asked for man by making His Son to be crucified and die then resurrected by the strength of His Father’s power.
The Apostle Paul here was successful in pointing to the exact meaning concerning the Heavenly Father’s intention. Paul the Apostle gave us his testimony, nay his experience to be an example of our faith in the cross, the reason of our pride too, for us to crown our lives and hearts with, and for it to enter our faith possessing our hearts. This way we will gain the mystery of the victory of Christ over the world to live as Christ and the saints lived disregarding the devil’s temptations and wiles. Christ to make us aware said: “I am the way.”1 If Christ is the way then the way has become free of any incursion from the devil and we can follow it without heeding the enemy’s temptation and intrusions to detach us from the Leader of our journey.
Thus faith in Christ requires us to hold on to this truth and make it an example on our journey and a light to our way “But I live crucified to the world and the world is crucified to me.” Man will pass through every oppression raising the cross of his life in the enemy’s face for him not to approach him with his wiles, cunning and deception till he traverses all the difficulties of the long hard way and is qualified for the crossing.
July 1, 2005
1 John 14:6.
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