GREAT FATHERHOOD REQUIRES CROSS-TRAINING by Stephen Kendrick
As Christians around the world join together every year to celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday, let me challenge you, Dads, to direct your attention and boldly train your children in the powerful and transformational truths of the cross.
Let me summarize thousands of years of history and theological books for you. The cross of Jesus Christ is the secret to knowing God, experiencing His love and walking in true victory in life. (Romans 5:8)
Embracing the cross transforms a man from the inside out. Living the cross guides him to die to his fears and self-centeredness and to be more like Christ and walk in courage and truth in this world. (Luke 9:23) Teaching your children about the cross is fundamental to leading your kids to the heart of God and training them to make the most of their lives.
Jesus said it this way, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23-25 nasu.
Palm Sunday and the Passover week leading up to Easter are really about the cross and Jesus becoming the sacrificial lamb whose blood would save people from God’s wrath (John 1:29, Luke 22:14-20).
Did you know that the cross is the central theme of the entire 66 books of the Bible? The Old Testament is constantly using symbolism and prophecies (Genesis 22:4-18, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53) to point people forward to the cross. The New Testament looks back to the cross. The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all take you on a journey to the cross.
The cross is also the central theme of true theology.
Through the cross, Jesus dealt with everything that our selfishness and sin has brought into the world. Sin brings guilt and shame, but Jesus bore our shame on the cross. (Hebrews 12:1-2) Sin brings bondage, addiction and spiritual slavery. (John 8:31-36) But Jesus sets us free from these. (Romans 6:6, 17-18, 22, Galatians 2:20; 5:1) Sin brings the judgment and curse of the law. Yet Christ died on a tree and became a curse for us to deliver us (Galatians 3). Sin results judgment, death, and the fear of death. (Romans 6:23 Hebrews 2:14). But Christ conquered death, hell, and the grave.
At the same time, the cross of Jesus reveals and uncovers the character of God’s heart. It glorifies and announces the very nature of God Himself in vivid color. If you want to see God’s wrath upon sin, then look at the cross.
So much blood. So tortuous that Romans exempted their citizens from it. So painful, a new word was invented to describe it. In English, our word “excruciating” actually means, “out of the cross. ”
But at the same time, if you want to see the beauty of God’s mercy, look at the cross and how He bore our sins for us. (Romans 9:16; Eph. 2:4-5). The height of God’s LOVE was revealed at the cross. (John 15:13) Jesus paid the highest price possible to those us who deserved it the least in order to give us the greatest gift possible.
When we men and our children realize how much we deserve God’s judgment and yet how much love and mercy He has offered us through the cross, it does something amazing within us. It humbles us.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “My sins were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned with thorn those bleeding brows: my sins cried “Crucify Him! crucify Him!” and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders. His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity: but my having been His murderer, is more, infinitely more, grief than one poor fountain of tears can express.”
Yet, knowing what Christ did for us transforms us. It awakens us to God’s love and mercy poured out for us. It inspires us to let go of what is wrong in our lives and embrace what God wants from us.
The cross answers life’s toughest questions. Which religious leader is worth following? Look to the One Who died on a cross for you. How can I know that I am really loved? Run to the cross. How do I get encouragement on a daily basis? Be inspired by the cross. How do I get set free from addictions? By embracing the cross and following Christ. What does God think about my sin? Gaze upon the shame of the cross. How do I get eternal life? By bowing your knee and your heart at the foot of it.
How should I then live? The Apostle Paul beautifully explained it this way, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” – Galatians 2:20 NASU
This is the power of the cross.
Embrace it and teach it to your children.