What Is the Cross?
2 Cor. 1:4 Who comforts us in all our affliction that we may be able to comfort those who are in every affliction through the comforting with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (5) For even as the sufferings of the Christ abound unto us, so through the Christ our comfort also abounds.
The cross is not turning one’s feelings toward others; it is not turning one’s feelings inward or suppressing one’s feelings. The cross is a matter of joyful acceptance; it is for a person to thank God saying, “The path that God has chosen for me is all good. I can be glad, I can give thanks, and I have no problems because I receive from God’s hand the cross that He has given me.” The cross forgives; it does not pity itself, and it is not passive. The only feeling the cross gives us is a feeling of thanksgiving to the Lord. The cross is a matter of having a soft heart before God. Whatever God wishes, let it be so. It is a matter of knowing that God is great and that God is also love.
The real bearing of the cross will only result in others’ respect; it will not seek man’s pity. Whenever one seeks man’s pity and whenever one seeks man’s comfort, that is only wine mingled with gall and not the cross.
Our Lord refused wine mingled with gall for the simple reason that He did not need man’s help. He did not need man’s help because He already had God’s joy in Him. The cross means rejoicing within and being able to praise God within.
Therefore, a cross-bearer can comfort others [2 Cor. 1:14]. A person such as Paul is one who can comfort other people because no difficulty can touch him. We have seen that Paul and Silas could pray and sing hymns to praise God in their affliction in Philippi (Acts 16:25). These two men needed no wine mingled with gall; they were men who were really crucified on the cross. Stephen could still ask God to forgive the people when he was being stoned (Acts 7:59-60).
He did not feel any pain for himself; he needed no wine mingled with gall. He was really a crucified person. The cross means that no matter what pain or difficulty befalls you, you are not touched by it; on the contrary, you can still praise God. If you are always considering how heavy or difficult a matter is, there is no cross.