I Want to Know Him

Is Jesus still on the cross?

Yes. No. Both.

Read on.

Ash Wednesday begins the traditional season of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter (Lent literally means “Forty”). So what?

“Old, dead tradition stuff.” That was my summation of the season before I became a Jesus-follower. Even for some time after my conversion, I thought, “What do I need with ‘tradition’? I’ve got Jesus!”

But now? That ‘tradition stuff’ helps me connect more deeply with Jesus. How? By providing a season for me to ponder what’s unfinished and still resistant in me to Christ’s work. Just as meditating on Scripture helps me focus on who I am in Christ, Ash Wednesday and Lent help me focus on what I have yet to become.

The “Ash” in Ash Wednesday represents the “dust” from which life is drawn (“ashes to ashes, dust to dust”). But it also reminds me that my old life, the old me, is dead, turned to ash. And that the new life, the Christ-life, is still being formed.

Christ’s atonement tore a cross-shaped hole in the veil between death and life, between us and eternity. And so some churches use an empty cross to celebrate his finished work, our salvation made complete. But others use a crucifix to commemorate his presence in the ongoing work of making us complete. Which emphasis is correct?

Both. He ascended to prepare a place for us (John 14:3). But he is also present with those who pick up their cross and follow him daily (Luke 9:23). Interestingly, quantum physics casts its vote for both: because time as we perceive it–an endless progression from “finished” toward “not-yet”–isn’t real. Time simply is. Just as most of the stars we see flamed out eons ago, but are still there, Christ’s work on the cross was completed 2,000 years ago, but is still there.

I’m not alone on my cross. He is with me.

And so, even as the ashes are placed on my forehead tonight, I will think of both the crucifixion and the resurrection. Because:

“I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, to be conformed to His death that by any means possible I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or am complete, but I press on…”

~Philippians 3:10-12

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to I Want to Know Him

  1. alishaliker says:

    I really love all your writings. Very inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. CG Thelen says:

    Love the explanation of “both”. Thanks for this great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post. I love lent and usually take on something extra. Often I read a book I have been putting off. This year I think I will reread “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Philip Yancey. There are so many markers in it I know I will be renewed by reading it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. revruss1220 says:

    AMEN. I love this whole meditation, but am especially fond of this line: “Christ’s atonement tore a cross-shaped hole in the veil between death and life…” He is the eternal bridge between death and life, between heaven and earth, between God and humanity, between flesh and spirit. Happy (??) Ash Wednesday, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a beautiful post. Thank you for prompting reflection and gratitude!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pastor Randy says:

    Love this line: “Ash Wednesday and Lent help me focus on what I have yet to become.” Every day I am learning how much more I need to learn!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. K.L. Hale says:

    Reading your posts encourage me. 💕 as I reflect on the cross, I will also remember the sacrifice as I give, fast, and pray. I tear just speaking of his sacrifice for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gregoryjoel says:

    Thank you for your words. I grew up in a fundamentalist evangelical home that didn’t celebrate Lent or the liturgical calendar. As I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate and celebrate the liturgies. Lent is one of my favorite times of year. To mark this time of year as one of repentance, prayer, and worship is special indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gpavants says:

    Dear Mitch,

    I love the concept of time and eternity. Events the cross happened in time, but the effects keep going on eternally.

    Great stuff!


    Liked by 1 person

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