Life and Death Transformed on the Cross

By Pastor Joseph San Jose

Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, “I’m thirsty.” A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to his mouth. After he took the wine, Jesus said, “It’s done . . . complete.” Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit.

John 19:28-30 the Message Version

God never demanded for Jesus’s blood and life. Empire did and every human tendency towards empire; hatred and anger, fear and intolerance, selfishness and greed, dominance and oppression. The Cross is the symbol of everything that was wrong with empire and humanity’s imperial system, then and now. Jesus’ death on the cross is not an atonement but rather a path and a way of love. No less than God who became flesh and the source of life willingly gave himself to the altar of human oppression. By this he has showed us the way. By this he has transformed the symbol of violence and death to a symbol of new life.

As followers of Jesus, we are called not only to carry our crosses but to also transform them by nailing everything that prevents us from being loving and compassionate to one another. We are called to willingly crucify our selfishness and apathy. We are called to bleed every privilege and arrogance that prevents us from serving those that Jesus served; the poor, the exploited, the marginalized and those that this world despise.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to journey towards the Calvary of our lives and communities and to die for each other and for those who cry out to God the most. This is the life transformed and formed by the cross. Dying with Christ, may we be transformed in the darkness of the tomb awaiting the glory and joy of the life to come.

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