The Other Cross
We are not truly certain what became of the actual physical cross upon which Christ was crucified. Though many churches and basilicas across Europe claim to have bits of it, these claims are difficult to prove. In fact, so many claims have been made that the sum total of these alleged fragments far exceeds the total volume of the cross! Dutch philosopher and Christian scholar Erasmus (1466-1536) once wrote, “…if all the fragments were collected together, they would appear to form a fair cargo for a merchant ship.”
Crucifixion being so common in Christ’s day, and those executed being considered with such disdain, it is quite likely that Christ’s cross was used for both previous and subsequent executions also. Just as Christ used many everyday things in ministry: the water pots which held the water made wine (John 2:1-11), the fish nets which snared the miraculous catch (Luke 5:1-11; John 21:1-14) – all had previous and most likely subsequent everyday use. Christ had no qualms about identifying fully with fallen humanity.
But there is another cross crucial to the life of every believer, one as close and as real and as personal as one’s very self. In fact, it IS one’s very self! The full exchange of salvation is this: Christ gives His Life to us, and the believer surrenders his or her life to Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” wrote Paul (Gal. 2:20). “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” taught Christ (Matt. 10:39 — See also Matt. 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, John 12:25).
It is a daily task…
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:24).
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Col. 3:5).
“Unless we die to self, we shall die of self.” writes L. E. Maxwell. (Born Crucified).
This is what is meant when we sing “I surrender all” at evangelistic crusades, This is what slain missionary Jim Elliot encapsulated when he stated, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” As the Cross of Christ is the “crux” of the gospel, so the Cross of self-crucifixion is the “crux” of discipleship.