Home » District Presidents, Headline

No Cross – No Crown!

April 17, 2014 No Comment
Rev. Paul Zabel

Rev. Paul Zabel

by Paul Zabel

“For narrow is the gate, and straight the way, that leads to life.” (Matthew 7:14)

When I was attending the seminary in St. Louis, a popular gathering place for people was along the banks of the Mississippi River near the St. Louis Arch. Many of the people who worked in the office buildings located in downtown St. Louis would take their lunch to this location to enable them to get out of their office environment and to spend at least a part of their day enjoying the weather outside. I was reminded of this, when over the Internet I happened to come across a picture of the Mississippi River in a daily newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and over it was this caption: “River All Broken Up Over Spring.”

The story went on to relate that the mighty Mississippi was beginning to shed its coat of ice in earnest. The people in St. Louis are happy and glad over this, because signs of spring are always welcome after a long and severe winter. But if spring is to come in all of its beauty, even in our “neck of the woods,” the ice and snow that has accumulated during the last several months also has to break up and melt away. This is one of the laws of life.

Another law of life according to the mindset of the world: “If you are going to receive anything that is worthwhile, you have to pay a price for it!” This applies to the material world and to the spiritual as well. About the life of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, it could be said, “No cross – no crown!” And the same applies to all who follow Him. The wonderful thing about this statement, however, is that Christ has paid the price for us. He has paid it in full by going to the cross and dying there for your and my sins. The current Lutheran Layman’s League 2014 Lenten devotions “explores the heart-rending suffering of our Saviour as He pressed on to fulfill a redemption that only He could accomplish for us.”

Christ has paid the price for us. He has paid it in full by going to the cross and dying there for your and my sins.

Many years ago a man was once traveling to his destination by plane. It was late in the evening and he was sitting in one of the aisle seats very near to the front of the plane. On this particular flight, before there was a need for some of the security procedures of our present day, the pilot invited any of the parents on the plane to bring their young children forward in order for them to stand in the doorway of the flight deck. This was done in order for them to see the flight deck with all of its instruments and also to see what he saw through the windows of the flight deck as well.

From his seat near to the front of the airplane’s cabin, the gentleman who was traveling that night was also able to get glimpses through the window of the flight deck. Through that window he, too, was able to see their destination city all aglow with its thousands of lights burning brightly. Street after street was marked with them. Then the pilot pointed to a certain spot and said, “That is the airport.” He directed the plane very gracefully toward the field, and during this whole time, he was in direct communication with one of the air traffic controllers. Far ahead was the runway to which he had been directed.

There seemed to be a million lights below, and many lighted ways. But there was only one way the pilot could go and that was to follow the two rows of lights that marked for him a single runway. He was heard reporting to the air traffic controller his descending altitude, “100 feet, 75 feet, 50 feet.” And as the plane headed down to safety on the runway ahead, this thought came to the watching passenger, “Narrow is the way.” The pilot had trusted the directions of the air traffic controller and the instruments in the flight deck, he had been obedient to the commands, and the result was a happy landing.

Our Lord Jesus was obedient in following His Father’s—and our Father’s—commands to go to Jerusalem and to die on the cross for your and my sins. The end was result is also a happy landing for us. This is also the reason that the day Jesus went to the cross for us, we call “Good Friday!”


Rev. Paul Zabel is President of the East District of Lutheran Church–Canada.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.