Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The feast dates back to the year 335 on the day when the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was dedicated. It housed a portion of the true cross which Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, found.
Much of that legend dates from later centuries, so the Church prefers to think of this day commemorating Jesus being lifted high on the cross.
In John’s Gospel Jesus spoke three times of is being lifted up, with a different benefit flowing from each time he would be “lifted up.”
In Chapter Three of John’s Gospel Jesus said, “The Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone might believe in him.”
In Chapter Eight he said, “When you lift up the Son of Man you will realize that I AM.
In Chapter Twelve he said, “And when I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all to me.”
Jesus was nailed to it while the cross was still flat on the ground. Next, the squad of four Roman soldiers lifted up the cross with Jesus nailed to it. Then, balancing it upright, they would have shifted it over to where they could let the base of it drop into the hole dug for it. It is the abrupt thud of the cross hitting the bottom of that prepared hole where we might particularly think of Jesus. Over the years I imagine Jesus cringed every time he thought of that abrupt thud waiting for him.
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