It is 22nd Lord’s Sunday from resurrection. But it falls in the week, when we shall have the exaltation of the Holy Cross. For the Precious Cross of our salvation is exalted on 14th September every year. Therefore, the readings of the 22nd Lord’s Sunday are kept aside, and instead of them we use the appointed readings of the Sunday Before the Exaltation of the Cross. Gal 6:11-16. Jn3:13-17.
Today, on the Sunday before the Exaltation of the Precious Cross, we learn in preparation about the meaning of the Cross in our life, as members of the salvation work of Christ, the Word and Son of God the Father, in the Holy Spirit. Compare the related passages, like: Mt 10:38; 16:24. Mk 8:34. Lk 9:23; 14:27. Jn 19:17. Ro 5:10. 1 Cor 1:18, 23 – 24. Col 1:20, 22. Nu 21:8-9.
When we gather all the above passages and internalize them, surly then we understand that, the modern Christians who reject the Cross from their life are totally wrong and heretical.
The teaching of Christ is very clear. “No one has ever gone into heaven (and returned) except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life”. Jn 3:13 -15. Nu 21: 8-9.
We must conceive the meaning of this passage in context of the entire chapter Jn 3. And we should not isolate the chapter (introducing the fact) from the whole Biblical teaching. In this chapter, besides baptism of recreation, Christ establishes the Cross also as the central mystery, for the kingdom of God to come on earth. Mt 4:17, 23; 6:10. He reconciles us (if we believe) to God the Father in the Holy Spirit, through His sacrifice on the Cross, death, burial and resurrection, after three days.
The teaching of Apostle Paul deepens the Cross in the life of Christians, according to the teaching of Christ himself. “May we never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to us, and ourselves to the world”. Gal 6:14. This is meant not in exterior but interior (spiritual) activities of our recreation into new beings, as believers in eternal life. For believers in eternal life do not die spiritually, but participate in eternal life from here on earth.