The Word for today:
In the picture above, some see a young lady, while some see an old lady. No matter which one you see, you are right. They are both there to be seen.
What do you see when you look at the cross?
Certainly we see love there; no greater love has ever been seen. How unspeakably beautiful. (1)
But what else can be seen? Look carefully.
You see the most exacting and severe judgment that the world has ever known. How utterly terrifying.
The fact that two people can look at the cross and see exact opposites will begin to explain the world's reaction to Jesus, the Lamb in Revelation 6.
Jesus did not change. He's still the same Lamb, the one that so many call Savior. But the saved have been removed from the earth and those left behind are terrified of this Lamb:
Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" (2)Call Jesus whatever you will, and that's what he becomes for you:
If you call him your Savior, he saves you from sin.
If you call him your Leader, he guides you.
If you call him your Strength, he sustains you.
If you call him your Rock, you will not be moved.
If you call him your Shield, he will position himself between you and death.
But should you call him inconsequential, then the consequences of sin fall to you.
Should you call him a liar, then his promises, for you, are annulled. (3)
Should you find him poor, then you are left to pay the wages of sin for yourself. (4)
The cross, where some were born, is just a gallows to others. And what is Good News to some is an obituary to others:
Now wherever we go he uses us to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing. To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. (5)
So, is that a young lady or an old lady at the top of this page?
Yes and yes.
Is that the Lion of Judah or the Lamb of God who opens the seals in Revelation 5:5-10?
Yes and yes.
Is the cross all about love or judgment?
Yes and yes.
In the Kingdom of God, what you see is what you get.
(1) John 5:13; (2) Revelation 6:15-17; (3) see Mark 6:3-6; (4) Romans 6:23; (5) 2 Corinthians 2:14-16/NLT