The Victory of Christ and the Rood

I know this is not two weeks since my latest post but I wanted to share an analysis I wrote about the poem, The Dream of the Rood, that I shared with you all last week. As I mentioned last week, this poem was the inspiration for my latest post. (There is a link to the poem located at the bottom of this post)

The Dream of the Rood is a beautiful depiction of the crucifixion of Christ from the viewpoint of the cross, itself. The unknown writer of this poem not only demonstrates a unique portrayal of Jesus Christ but also demonstrates the victory He won for His followers. As shown by this poem, He certainly is a hero. The Dream of the Rood demonstrates Christ’s justifying quality that makes Him a hero and depicts the victory that was won when He meekly gave up His life for the benefit of others.

The quality that claims Jesus’s heroism is His meekness. Consider this line from The Dream of the Rood, “Then the young Hero stripped himself — that was God Almighty — strong and stouthearted. He climbed on the high gallows, bold in the sight of many when he would free mankind.” Meekness is often misunderstood as a quality of weakness and being powerless. However, Christ proves the quality of meekness as being, not the absence of power, but the use of power for the benefit of others. Jesus was God (“Almighty”), nothing prohibited Him from stopping His accusers with either wit or force. However, He kept His focus on His purpose, to “free mankind”. That He did, Jesus bridged the gap, of sin, that separated mankind from God. Mankind was trapped by sin. Then Jesus came meekly, as a baby, and died meekly, between two thieves, acting as a substitute for the death mankind deserved.

Jesus did not solely die, He rose again. This proved His Power and authority. “It is of the tree of glory on which Almighty God suffered for mankind’s many sins and the deeds Adam did of old. He tasted death there, yet the Lord arose again to help mankind in his great might. Then he climbed to the heavens. He will come again…” (The Dream of the Rood). This phrase again shows the meekness of Almighty God by stating again about His sufferings. It also magnificently portrays His Power. His Power over sin and death so that His followers would know that He was who He said He was, the Son of God; and that they would know He would protect them. As the rood states, Jesus will come again to bring finalization to the victory He claimed.

The rood’s great story does not end there. “He” goes onto to express how Christ raised not only raised Himself but also raised the rood. “On me [the rood] God’s Son suffered awhile; therefore, I tower now glorious under the heavens, and I may heal every one of those who hold me in awe. Of old, I became the hardest of torments, most loathed by men, before I opened the right road of life to those who have voices. Behold, the Lord of Glory honored me over all the trees of the wood…” (The Dream of the Rood). This honor comes to the rood because “he” carried “his” weight and shared, in a small way, the sufferings of Christ. This creates a beautiful depiction of how Christ’s followers share in His victory. Christ, no doubt is the sole being, worthy of the victory He fought for. However, He shares it with those who follow Him, those like the rood. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”. For this is what He did, Himself. He “denied” His worthiness to take on the shame of the world and took up the rood. Viewing the rood as a person, “he” did the same thing. “He” suffered some of the same pain as Christ. Those who want to be reunited with Christ, free of their sins, must do the same thing, be willing to share in Christ’s sufferings.

They must be willing to take the identity of the rood. It is a humbling identity because the first one must associate themselves with the tool that crucified Christ (this is their sin, the reason Christ had to die). But this identity then leads to shared glory and honor with Christ. The apostle Paul sums this up well in Romans, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Think of the symbol of the cross today. It is viewed as honorable and displayed all over. This is because it is a symbol of new life. First seen as a gruesome method of execution reserved for the worst of the worst, is now seen as a symbol for new life. The rood proves that it takes commitment, but a commitment that certainly makes your life worth living. When you meekly give up your life for others, like the hero, Christ did; He gives you new life, sharing in the victory He won.

Read The Dream of the Rood here.

L.I.F.E. – – – Live Intently For Eternity

Life is not about living for ourselves, it is about living, earnestly, in light of what He did for us.

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