- April 2, 2021
- Posted by: admin
- Categories: Spiritual Reflections and Homilies, Stephen Kakande
THE POWER AND MEANING OF THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST
Dear friends, the Church today commemorates the greatest events in the history of our salvation namely: the passion, suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross. Today the church all over the world commemorates the mystery of her origin through veneration of the cross of Jesus. one may ask the question why the cross of Jesus Christ is so central to us Christians?
A cross is a meeting point between us and Jesus. No matter how sinful we are, a cross enables us to meet Christ. It bridges the barrier that is created by sin preventing us to meet Christ. It was on the cross that the sinful thief met Jesus at the time of crucifixion. We too, in the cross we meet Jesus Christ even while we are sinners. If you want to meet Jesus and to ask him to do something great for you, embrace his cross. Crucify yourself and you will meet Jesus. You will do wonders and miracles. You will be freed from all kinds of bondages. You will get strength in your weakness.
The cross of Jesus Christ is the fountain of all spiritual powers. It gives us authority over the devil and its agents. The only person who has genuine authority over the devil is the one who is armed with the cross of Jesus Christ. Deliverance from all kinds of satanic attacks, demonic possessions, afflictions and oppressions cannot take place except through the cross. Freedom from witchcraft assignments, curses, evil spells, demonic soul-ties, generational and family tree bondages, free masonry and illuminati cults and other satanic secret organizations, effects of occult rituals, devil worship, sorcery , wizardly, magical works, hexes, voodoo practices etc…, can only be attained through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Healings of various kinds such as inner healing, emotional healing or healing of emotional wounds, healing from addictions such as sexual addictions, compulsive lust, drug and alcohol addictions and sometimes physical healings etc…can all be registered through the cross of Jesus. We all need to go through the cross experience if we are to antagonize and defeat the works of the devil in our lives.
The Power and Meaning of the Cross of Jesus Christ
The cross is at the centre of our Christian faith. Our Christian faith cannot exist without the cross of Jesus. Redemption cannot be acquired except through the cross. A cross is strength through weakness, joy through suffering, greatness through simplicity, triumph through mockery and hope through despondence. The cross of Jesus gives us confidence and surety through uncertainty, attraction through rejection, glory through shame, comfort through affliction, light through darkness and life through death. A cross is a point of death to sin and birth to holiness. It is the gateway to heaven and a key to the doors of the heavenly riches. It is an inevitable door to salvation. It is healing through pain and suffering; gain through loss and liberation through slavery. The cross humbles us in order to be exulted in Jesus Christ.
We meet the personality and divinity of Christ on the cross. A cross is a point and moment repentance and forgiveness. It was on the cross at Calvary that the thief repented of his sins before Jesus—and still it was on the cross that Jesus forgave that thief of his sins. Therefore, in order for us to seek and receive forgiveness and reconciliation from God, we need to embrace the cross. Still, those who find it difficult to forgive those who hurt them need to embrace the cross. The cross of Jesus gives us the power to forgive others.
The cross of Jesus Christ is the key that unlocks our spiritual gifts. The cross is one of the symbols in which the power of God resides. Those of you who need power from above, the power to heal self and to heal others, the power to deliver, cast out and exorcise others from demonic possession, afflictions and oppressions, the power to preach the word of God in a more impressive and fruitful way, the power to perform miracles and wonders, the power to tap all the gifts of the holy spirit to work in you in a spectacular and amazing manner, the power to be a true, faithful and fruitful witness of Christ, the power to overcome witchcraft, evil spells and curses with all their effects, the power to triumph over all kinds of evil spirits and the power to overcome all kinds of addictions, sin, evil and Satan; you need to embrace the cross of Jesus. There is no way you can escape the cross of Jesus Christ if you want to be a winner in this world. In His own wisdom and design, God put all heavenly powers and authority in the cross so that every human person who wishes to gain access to such powers must do it through the means of the cross. If you want to reach heaven embrace the cross of Jesus Christ.
Today, more than ever, we all need to embrace and crucify ourselves on the cross of Jesus Christ if we are to be winners both here on earth and in the life to come. The blunt, bitter and painful truth is that; today there are very few people who are living a gospel-crucified-life, even though they call themselves Christians and even possess valid baptismal certificates. Even those fellows who consider themselves to know God more than others and even portray a public impression that they champion holiness and that they are holier than the Holy:- shun the cross. You can hardly notice a gospel-lived-cross in their lives—which is a daunting threat to Christ’s self-worked-out sense of salvation. What they normally show to us is ‘artificial’ or ‘plastic’ holiness in spite of having spent so many years internalizing the scriptures. That is why the anointing of God, heavenly virtues and spiritual gifts are disappearing very fast away from the body of Christ and from communities and thus prayer gatherings and prayer celebrations have now become formalities. They lack a tangible spiritual gist that can make a profound channel to win souls for Christ.
We all need to go back to the cross if we are to reclaim back for ourselves the anointing of God and a spectacular powerful working of the spiritual gifts and talents within us. The cross is a believer’s drawing board. We all need to go back to that drawing board in order to trace and rediscover where we went wrong.
The only parts of our nature which the devil can never touch or claim authority over are those parts which have been crucified. The only time or moments Satan and his agents cannot touch a believer are those moments when he or she is crucified on the cross of Jesus. It should be recalled that at the time when the body of Jesus was hanging on the cross at Calvary after they had nailed him, the soldiers came to break the bones of his legs; but when the soldiers reached the cross they noticed that Jesus had already died and so they retreated. They never broke Jesus’ bones. Below John reports:
|“They asked Pilate to order that the legs of the men be broken…… the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men beside Jesus. But when the soldiers came close to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead. So they did not break his legs”. John 19;31-33|
From John’s account in the above scriptural excerpt, the soldiers broke the legs of other people but did not break those of Jesus simply because he had already died on the cross. We too, whenever we embrace and crucify ourselves on the cross of Jesus; we become dead to sin and so the devil has no way to break us down. The only time the devil will not manage to break you down is that time when you are on the cross of Jesus. The only time when witchdoctors, wizards, witches, occultists, sorcerers and devil worshippers will not have power over you is that time when you are crucified on the cross of Jesus.
The only moment your enemies will not triumph over you is when you are on the cross of Jesus. The only time witchcraft and evil spirits will not have effect on you is when you are crucified on the cross of Jesus Christ. The only time when your husband will not abandon you for that nearby concubine or prostitute is when you are on the cross of Jesus. Similarly, the only time when your wife will not dissert you is when you are crucified on the cross of Jesus.
The only time when you will cope well with your fellow workers at your place of work is when you are on the cross. The only moment when your employees will not riot against you and your policies: are those moments when you allow yourself to be crucified on the cross. The only moment when our ministry of evangelization will bear lasting fruits, especially in this secularized time, is when we are on the cross. Without crucifying ourselves on the cross of Jesus:—forget about success in ministry, and expect to be swallowed by the world. We shall always remain a “sleeping giant”.
The only formula we can use in order to grow spiritually is embracing the cross of Jesus. To avoid the cross of Jesus is to remain spiritually cold and stagnant.
The only moment when those under your authority and jurisdiction will comply with you is when you are living a gospel crucified life. The only time when we shall manage to practice what we preach and live what we teach is when we are crucified on the cross of Jesus. The only moment when we shall be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ in today’s world is when we allow ourselves to be crucified on his cross. The only way through which the church will be a light in the dark is when it allows itself to be crucified on the cross. Still, the only way through which the church will be a visible sign of God’s presence in today’s globalised and secularized world is by crucifying itself on the cross of Jesus Christ.
The only moment when your business, will flourish and bear genuine, lasting and ‘peaceful’ profits is when you are crucified with it on the cross of Jesus Christ. The only time when your marriage and family will have lasting peace and stability is when you are crucified on the cross of Jesus. The only time when your work and career will bear lasting fruits is when you are on the cross of Jesus. The only moment when you will cope well and get well along with those people whom you live with is when you are crucified on the cross of Jesus. The only way you will have genuine influence over the people is when you live a gospel-crucified life.
If your thoughts, your desire and love for money and material possessions, your sexual life, your temper, your anger, your eating habits, your love for power and dominance is not yet crucified on the cross of Jesus Christ; then you still have a long journey to navigate.
The gospel and the cross of Jesus Christ are inseparable. The two are intertwined in one. The two forms up and summarizes the saving and redemptive mission of Christ. Its through the cross of Jesus that God reconciled with humankind. Whatever runs contrary to the cross is not part of the gospel. The cross simply means SUFFERING for the sake of Jesus Christ. It means embracing discomfort. It means doing away with what has been pleasant to us for the sake of Christ. It means doing what we wouldn’t have wished to do just for the sake of God’s kingdom. It means restraining ourselves and abstaining from all that we would wish to have in abundance at our disposal. The cross means letting go of our comfort. It may mean rejections, persecutions, accusations, betrayal and oppositions. Even our talents and gifts may be crosses to us.
Suffering and the gospel of Jesus Christ go hand-in-hand. Every believer and follower of Jesus Christ must go through suffering at a certain point during his or her life here on earth. Nobody can escape suffering unless he or she is not a believer in Christ. Suffering of any kind purifies our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus himself suffered even unto death on the cross in order to give us a perfect example of what is destined of those who follow him. Anyone who identifies himself or herself with Christ must go through some sufferings in order to be purified.
I have personally gone through many kinds of sufferings, trials, rejections, betrayals, oppositions and persecutions—all because of identifying myself with Jesus Christ. And I am very sure; more of such oppositions are yet to come on my way simply because I have stood for Christ. And I am not bothered or worried at all about that. It is part of the package that Jesus promised to us who believe in Him.
There is a certain woman who was going through a very difficult situation. When she sent me an email requesting for my advice and prayers, she explained to me very well all the challenges she was going through and at the end of her email, she exclaimed that;
|“With the level of faith I have, surely I should not be facing all these trials. I am confused and I do not know the next prayer direction”|
Our faith in Jesus does not guarantee us freedom from suffering but instead necessitates us endurance amidst trials. We may at times think that our righteousness merits us a trouble free life. This is not correct. We as followers of Jesus Christ cannot be exceptions. I wish you all a blessed Easter Tridium.
Yours in Christ
Fr. Stephen Kakande C.S.Sp.