Was the Cross Necessary?

Two weary-hearted friends trudged slowly home. Days before they were anticipating the Passover festival and wondering what they would witness as they followed the steps of the young rabbi. Would His friend Lazarus of Bethany attend the festivities, the one He brought back to life from the dead?

Would there be more healings?

More disturbances to the settled religious system?

The religious leaders feared the popularity of the Man from Nazareth. Rumors of death threats had been whispered. But Cleopas and his companion thought they saw in Him reason for hope. They’d even dared to think He might be the long awaited One.

The One who would set all things right.

But now darkness had ripped through hope. Confusion-filled thoughts tumbled one after another over painful flashbacks. The sudden turn of events, and the horror of seeing the One they hoped would be their redeemer hanging like a wretched criminal, sent them home with doubt’s aching sadness. The seven mile journey back to Emmaus provided room to vent their pain but words were hard to come by.

Their hearts were held captive by despair when they were joined by another. The Truth speaker came alongside to share the burden of road with them and to ask a question. He’s good at that.

I’m not sure why they didn’t recognize Jesus. I imagine a resurrected Christ must appear somewhat visibly different than a suffering Savior. But I also know that when I’m in the grave of despair—I often miss seeing Him.

He can be working right in front of my face and I’m blind to it.

And just as He does with me, He walked with them and listened as they poured it all out to Him. And in the way only He can do, He tenderly rebuked doubt with a question meant to turn hearts toward truth.

[box]“Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26)[/box]

Was it not necessary?


And with that one word He provides the key to all suffering, the answer to the confusion over every painful event. In order to set all things right, to reverse the curse, to obtain our redemption . . . the cross was necessary.

The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more pain.

The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more tears of sorrow.

The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more aching loneliness.

The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more flesh-corrupting cancer.

The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no such thing as suffering.

The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no such thing as sin.

The cross was necessary. 

When they first left Jerusalem all they could see was the loss of a dream, the ending of hope. They couldn’t see beyond their own sorrow. They didn’t realize the cross was part of the plan.

The cross was really the answer to all their questions and to every question that has ever been uttered by fallen flesh.

As the Life-giver explained Himself and took them through the Scriptures so that their eyes could be opened to recognize Him . . . a burning began. Their hearts were on fire! The knowledge of who He was blazed within and they couldn’t contain what they now understood.

The gospel had set them on fire and they had to tell everyone!

Has your heart been set on fire by Him?

Tell me about it.


  • Vicki

    Good Morning, Kim,

    My heart has been set on fire by Jesus! Years ago He gave me such a desire for a burning passion that I began asking for just that. Slowly, but consistently and surely, He has been pleased to grant that request. I will say it is not an easy road, but I am far enough along on the journey to know that the benefits far outweigh the cost!

    Often it seems like the enemy is trying to quench the flames, sometimes by circumstances or someone’s discouraging words, and often just by the weariness of living in this broken world in a body of clay. I am so thankful that His mercies are new every morning because I am a leaky vessel for sure! I find when I get into His Word right away in the morning, the Holy Spirit uses it to stoke again into a full-fledged flame the coals that have smoldered overnight! This verse from Jeremiah comes to mind: “Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Over and over again I find that His Word is “living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

    May you and your family have a blessed Easter weekend! Thank you for responding to the call of God on your life. You continually encourage me and many others!

    And may we all focus ever more intently on what The Word went through when He became flesh and dwelt among us!

    So grateful that Word is alive!!!


  • Vivian Etherington

    Yes, you know it has! I join Vicki in thanking you for responding to God’s call on your life and I am thanking Him for you! It has been a challenging, yet rich week for me. As I taught twice this week through a lesson that included material from The Suffering Savior (which you recommended on this blog) I was sobered and brought to tears at points! Teaching is exhausting, as well know; and to do it twice, one day after another….well, you know how that is too! Meditating on what it meant for Jesus to become sin for us and to drink the cup of wrath that should be reserved for us is very sobering and causes me to bow in gratitude and worship!
    This morning I am reading John 17-19. I am so encouraged by Jesus’ prayer for us and sobered by the events surrounding the cross. I love the part in the Garden when the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus “drew back and fell to the ground” when he spoke, answering them “I am He”! What a scene!
    I pray you have a wonderful Easter weekend with your family! Love you!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Vicki ~

    Thank you for sharing! I love your statement: “I am far enough along on the journey to know that the benefits far outweigh the cost!” That is a settled place that comes from knowing our Father’s kind heart and understanding how He sovereignly orchestrates all things purposefully. All that He does is good, and He is wise enough to use it beneficially in our lives and also for His glory.

    Praying you and your family enjoy a worshipful resurrection weekend!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Viv ~

    Thank you (and Vicki) for such sweet encouragement. I love seeing how God is using you to teach women. Thankful that you were able to pass on truths God has been teaching you and I’m so glad you’ve been going through “The Suffering Savior.” Such a precious read!

    May you and your family enjoy a most blessed and worshipful weekend, friend!
    Much love ~