MARKS OF THE CROSS
J. Grant Swank, Jr.
". . .I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Galatians 6:l7
Paul carried the cross. Paul was eventually crucified on a cross.
While doing his gospel work around the Mediterranean, Paul often was beaten, dragged about, spat upon, derided scornfully, maligned, lied about, jailed.
Paul surely did cross his skin with the marks of the cross. He was justly proud of the surrender of his mortal frame to the work of Jesus. There was no complaint in his final statement in his epistle to the Galatians. It was penned as a matter of faith fact. Paul had acted out in life what he had preached and taught to others.
There are scores of others who have seen through the body scars as Paul experienced them. Most of these warriors we will never meet here. We will not know their names. They are known however to heaven. And that is all that finally matters.
In other words, there are those believers who have taken so seriously the final judgment that they consider any sacrifice on earth worth it. They are envisioning the last day. Their biography conclusions are riveted on the smile of Jesus Christ at the very close of it all on this earth.
When one keeps his eyes on the last moment, then one can live with any cross currents come upon while journeying here below. That is the perspective that is most healthy when picking up the daily cross.
Ask yourself where you will be one hundred years from today. And what will you be doing? And will anyone really know that you once breathed here fifty years after you have disappeared? Will anyone really care to know?
If the hereafter is truly the most important aspect of your on-going existence, then whatever is endured here should relate to that. The pull of that magnet should dominate anything endured here.
What marks do you and I carry in our bodies on behalf of the cross?
We are daily undone emotionally because of some cutting remark. We become depressed over some act of unkindnesses leveled against us. We are torn apart by lies that circulate about our characters.
Are we persons of good integrity? Do we have clean consciences before God? Then what others think and say can take back seat for we have our eyes on the final day. It is what Jesus will say about our lives that must be uppermost now and then.
Let be whatever cruel marks may attach themselves to our bodies and reputations. After the first step in heaven, what will all that really matter? Not a thing.
Then let it really matter nothing now.