It sounds cliché, but I’m going to say it anyway: we are living in historic times. Just look at what is happening in the world. Never has there been such rampant evil in the world. We condemn previous generations for the atrocity of slavery, and rightly so, but prejudices and human trafficking have never been stronger than they are now. We gasp in horror at the unthinkable actions of the holocaust in which millions of Jews were executed, and yet we turn our eyes away from the even greater modern horror of the hundreds of millions of children being executed in barbaric ways by their own parents through abortion. We see news about horrible explosions at mosques that take the lives of a handful of people but see nothing about the thousands and even millions who are dying for their faith in Christ. To me, the hypocrisy of the day in which we live has reached an all-time high.
Then this week the world watched the one-and-only Notre Dame Cathedral burn, and it was like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie. A sign of the times. Dark times. Times when the beautiful things of this world are going up in flames. Notre Dame is arguably the heart of Paris, at the very center of identity for the French people. And on the very same Monday before Easter that Notre Dame went up in smoke, Jesus, the Son of God, entered the Jewish Temple over 2000 years ago, cleared it out, declaring “Destroy this temple, and I will rebuilt it in three days!” To the Jews, this statement was as horrific as the watching Notre Dame burn was for the French.
But Jesus wasn’t referring to the physical temple being destroyed. Jesus had come to make the temple what it was always meant to be. Jesus was the first of a kind — Jesus, being fully God and fully man, living a perfect life, had the very Spirit of God in Him. He himself was the temple of God. And He came with an even bigger picture in mind. That the old would give way to the new and that man himself would become God’s temple through Jesus Christ.
As Notre Dame burned out of control this past Monday, people couldn’t help but to look on with horror and disbelief, myself included. But I can only imagine what it must have been like to see Christ crucified. The horror. The disbelief. The beautiful Son of God hanging, bleeding, dying on a cross. And those who most loved him could only stand and watch.
The cross is where the worst of man meets the best of God — it’s the place where God traded places with man and took on our horrors. The most vivid example of this is the image of the aftermath from inside Notre Dame. For after everything in the Cathedral had passed through the fire, one thing remained intact: the cross of Christ.
The cross of Christ is the very reason for such a beautiful place like Notre Dame to be erected. It is the very reason we can be accepted before God and worship Him. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross, no longer does God live in temples built by man, but in us. No matter what trials, fires and shakings we pass through, the eternal Kingdom of God will be the ONLY thing that remains in the end. And the Eternal Kingdom of God was solidified here on earth through the Unshakeable Cross of Christ.
Yes, these days are dark, but in the darkness the light of the cross and those who live by it is shining stronger than ever. Never before in history have so many people been turning to Christ — within the recent years there are documented events where over a million people turned to Christ at once! Never before in history are people being raised up to fight the injustices in the world. Never before are so many laws going into effect that protect the lives of the innocent before they even have a chance to breathe the air. And there are more miracles happening today all over the world in Jesus’ name than can be documented. In such a dark world where the devil has overplayed his hand, the children of light shine even brighter. And the children of light are hasting the return of the Lord. His return will bring the final judgment, when absolutely everything will pass through fire. So the question is: what will remain of our lives when everything we worked for passes through the final fire? If it isn’t done through the Cross of Christ, then it won’t last.
Do you hear God’s voice today, saying “Pick up your cross and follow me?” The invitation to Christ is through a cross. The cross before the crown. God is giving us a chance today to lay down the things we call important and offer ourselves as living sacrifices, the kind that God deems acceptable. He’s offering us the chance to do something significant with our lives, not by some force of our own strength or intelligence, but by becoming submitted vessels, temples of his Holy Spirit.
Yes, the children of light are making a bigger difference than ever before and preparing for a Kingdom that won’t pass away, where the beautiful things won’t be destroyed in fire and where each and every person is special and precious in God’s sight. And after this world goes up in flames, in the rubble of it all will be the Unshakeable Cross of Christ, the place where the worst of man met the best of God. The symbol of the world’s chaos turned upside-down. Thank God for the unshakeable cross.