Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:44-49 | ESV
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’ Revelation 2:17 | ESV
Yes, that’s the story.
More or less.
And now we sit with our own story, and with our own choice of how to respond, which way to go.
We began the journey of these two weeks by considering those five characters and what each had to lay down. Each of us has something we need to leave at the foot of the cross as we pass by it this week. Something needs to be discarded. We each have a “stone” that needs to be released not merely from our hand but from our heart.
And then something needs to be received.
When Jesus appears to John in what we know as the book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, seven messages are delivered to seven early churches. Encouragement is imparted, warnings are given, and promises are deposited. “To him that overcomes” is the repeated refrain. To the one who surmounts it all, to the one who crosses the finish line, who holds on to what matters most, I will give, I will give, I will give… And of all the itemized blessings, perhaps most meaningful for us as we pass the cross this time is the “white stone with a new name written on it that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
Each time we pass the cross, each time we encounter Christ, there is something to leave with him and something to receive from him. And whatever is represented by this white stone, this much is sure: it speaks of imparted, discovered, unfolded identity.
To find Christ, to encounter the cross is to, in significant ways, lose ourselves; and to find Christ and encounter the cross is to find ourselves, to discover our true nature and identity in ways we simply cannot fathom.
And this is just the beginning…
What one significant “stone” have you been challenged to leave at the cross? What is your “white stone” that he has passed on to you this season? What is your take away from this journey of the cross?
Lord, I seek not yours but you, and in the finding of you I at last truly discover myself. Through my experience of the cross, let me experience you more fully and deeply – and move more freely into my new identity in and before you than I have before imagined possible. Through Christ.