William Penn’s father once said to the King of England, no cross, no crown. Now, the king did not like that very well, but the old Quaker did know what he was talking about.
Our Lord’s passion (his suffering and death) is remembered especially during this time of Lent. It is a time of special reflection on the great gift that Jesus gave to us, his suffering and death upon the Cross. Why? Because of love, God’s love and desire to be in new and right relationship with all people. A love that is so strong that “his only begotten son” was given in sacrifice for us!”
Jesus’ human suffering makes him uniquely able to understand our human pains, disappointments, illnesses and failures. In short Jesus really does know our heart, and calls us to a more God directed way. We’re remade and molded, this time to the way God planned us to be. It is a humbling yet powerful transition from the old self to the new.
The pain of Calvary with its suffering, shame and death gives way to Easter, the Resurrection and the birth of new life. As the Apostle Paul would later write “death is swallowed up in victory, O death where is thy sing? Thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
To know the joy of Easter, it is important to face the Good Fridays of our lives. Jesus is the good news to those who have faced up to their brokenness and desire healing and wholeness. I invite all of us to journey to the foot of the Cross and follow Jesus where he alone can lead us to the Crown of Life. I’ve lived long enough to experience what Penn said to the king was true – “No Cross-No Crown.