TITULUS CRUCIS: THE HISTORICAL RECORD

This is “The Weekend of the Cross.”   (Not an official title,  just my name given to this weekend, because there is much to think about that refers to the Cross.)

And here it is,  the historic Titulus Crucis,  dated by modern scientists to the first century, A.D.

Titulus

From its name you can probably tell that this wooden object is the “Title”  that was placed on the Cross of Jesus.    Or most of that sign anyway.   It’s made of olive wood, unlike the cross which was made of pine.    You can see it at the Santa Croce en Gerusalemme,  in Rome.

The  Christian faith is based on historic events and on the responses of people subsequent and relating to that history.      Although faith is required of us (faith:  knowledge with assent and trust),   once in a while it’s nice to see an actual artifact from those times.          (“Seeing is believing,” we like to say.)

On Sunday,  Sept. 14,  Christendom will recognize the feast day called The Exaltation of the Cross.   (Exaltation, not “worship,”   for my evangelical friends.)      This exaltation was triggered by a very real historical event, which I’ll tell you about later, but for now just think of the Cross as a metaphor:    Christ had His Cross to bear, he was brought low and was an outcast, but rose triumphant, according to historic eyewitness accounts.

The significant “metaphor” part of this is that the Church, as Christ’s Body, will also have to reprise the events that occurred in the life of Christ — including being brought to its Cross.   False accusations,   deliberate misunderstandings,   revilings,   expulsion from the public square, and persecutions are a natural part of this life, and as the world’s time runs out,  so will the persecution become worldwide and more intense.

The Church will have to undergo the same sufferings as Christ, whom the Church follows!

And then comes the end,   the vindication,  the victory –  which belongs to the real Christ,  the real Jesus,  because it is He who obtained it.

The victory comes through the Cross.

This is a good weekend to think about it.   

Recent headlines from Nigeria

Recent headlines from Nigeria

Many will go to their churches this weekend.   Some of those churches will be surrounded by enemies of the Cross;  they will have guns and machetes and fire bombs,   and Christians inside those churches will be injured, captured, enslaved, or killed.   Why do those Christians persist in their faith?

Enemies Triumphant

Enemies Triumphant

Many other Christians will continue to endure the “soft persecution” by their culture, by people in their own societies,  chipping away at their faith,  suppressing Christian teaching, mocking them, reviling them, labeling them with nasty names,  making false accusations,  and preventing them from expressing their faith in public.

Commanding, by new laws,  that the cross be hidden.

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