My life and my thoughts - on faith, culture, politics, whatever comes to my mind

Friday, January 18, 2008

Focus on the cross

This year I am following a scripture reading plan together with a friend. We will read through the New Testament in a year. I've done Bible in one year before, but now I am looking forward to less verses a day. I hope this will allow me to focus more on what I read than to just trying to get through with the amount for one day. I know though that this is a question of my heart and attitude.
One thing I especially want to focus on while reading. In going through every book of the NT I want to keep my focus on the cross of Christ and His atoning, substitutionary sacrifice. Last year God has really begun to open my heart and my mind more and given me a desire to understand more and more what happened through Christ's death and resurrection, what the meaning is and why it happened the way it happened. This is truly an amazing, heart-wrenching, awe-inspiring journey. I am exited for its continuing this year.

The first four months we read the gospel, not one gospel after the other, but the relating parts of all of them together. And the cross appeared on one of the first days:
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)
Jesus refers to an event during Israel's Exodus out of slavery in Egypt (Numbers 21:4-9). The Israelites were wandering through the desert and soon they forgot what God had done for them. So they started complaining against God thereby showing the rebelliousness of their hearts. So God sent poisenous snakes among them, an instant punishment of their rebellion and sin against Him. But when the people recognized their sin and asked Moses to pray for them, God provided a way out. Following God's instructions Moses made a bronze snake, put it on a pole and liftet it up. God had decreed that anyone suffering from the deadly bites who looked to the bronze snake should be healed and live.
Just like the Israelites we are lost in sin and rebellion against God. Ignoring our just as deadly condition we continue on a path which will lead to judgment and death - unless we look up to God's sign for all the people, God's sign for us: Jesus Christ crucified. Through his death we are safed from the reign of sin and may have eternal life. This, however, needs an action on our part. Just as healing came to the Israelites only if they turned their heads and decided to look upon that snake, salvation through Christ comes only if we look to Him in faith and trust.

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