"He Loved Them to the End" - Reflecting on the Path of the Cross during Lent

The annual Lent seasons - the forty days leading up to Easter - is the time of the year that provides believers with the opportunity to deeply reflect on the life of Jesus Christ, and specifically his last days and hours leading up to the cross. As the turning point in God's history of salvation, the cross and resurrection are central to understanding the gospel message and the Christian faith.

The Apostle Paul describes Jesus Christ as the one "who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8 NIV)

World Olivet Assembly churches have a tradition of reading the gospel of John from chapter 13 to 19, from the scene where John says that Jesus "loved them to the end" (John 13:1) and washed his disciples' feet to the final moment when Jesus died on the cross proclaiming "It is finished!" (John 19:30) By reading and reflecting on brief passages day by day, the Lent season deepens the understanding of Christ's selfless love and the sacrifice he gave by laying down his life as a ransom to set mankind free from sin.

In today's world that celebrates selfish desires, the cross appears as utter foolishness. For those, however, who have tasted the grace and freedom that comes by faith in Jesus Christ and accepting him as Lord, it is the unfathomable wisdom of God.

As the Apostle Paul writes to the believers in Corinth: "Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." - 1 Corinthians 1:20-24 (NIV)

May the Lenten season serve as a reminder of the wisdom of the cross that has overcome the world.24m