”…the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city…”
”The only way to heaven is via King’s Cross!”
Let’s not divorce the Cross and the city. They are joined together in the purposes of God. This world’s system is likened to a city in the Bible – to Babylon – one of the greatest and most wicked cities of the ancient world.
The city is a sophisticated place. But it is not so cool, hip and trendy that it doesn’t need the message of the cross. The cross is never out of date. It is the unfailing remedy for all the ills of the city.
The city is a sinful place. It is grimy and grubby and needs to know about the cleansing blood of Jesus. It is covered in darkness. Indeed we can say that ”thick darkness” envelops it (Isaiah 60:1), but the light and glory of Calvary can penetrate it and illuminate it and replace it.
Crowds live in the city, and the gospel is for the masses.
The place for someone to live who knows Christ is ”near the city”. By this I mean, we have to live out our Christian lives;speak out our Christian message, in the real world. In your case it may be a village and not a city. But my point remains the same. You are not called to a convent or a monastery; to a cloistered existence. You are ”the salt of the earth” and ”the light of the world” (Matthew 5: 13, 14). God has so ordered it that there should be a definite connection between the disciple of Christ and the earth/the world. We are not live aloof from it, but to involve ourselves with it; to get our ”hands dirty”. This powerful message belongs out there on the mean and filthy streets. It must be spoken (and written) in the language of the people. It is to communicated. If the only way to heaven is via the cross of the King, the city needs to know. John Stott said that a prophet is someone with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. That is another way of saying that we must not lose the connection between the Cross and the city.
The city is the place to live a cross-shaped life;
The city is the place to speak clear words about the cross.
The city may also want to do to us what it did to our Lord (and may succeed in doing it). But our place is to be ‘out there’, on the street corners, and up the back alleyways. We are not called to the cosy safety of ‘in here’ – keeping what we have within the four walls of the church. Our work is ‘out there’, where it is difficult and dangerous. But that is where we will see the power of the cross unleashed. As David Wilkerson discovered on the mean streets of New York, the Cross has something to say to ‘the switchblade’ and, in the final analysis, proves mightier.
PRAYER: Help me Lord to keep together what you have joined together in your great, mysterious purposes.