No Cross, No Crown

The essence of No Cross, No Crown was written by a 22-year-old William Penn while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1668. For the crime of blasphemy, which we may translate as being at odds with the established church of the time.

Penn was a Quaker, but one who would likely be drummed out of Meeting were he to appear today. Penn, as were most of the early Friends, were hard-line, Gospel-believing Christians. Puritans were their closest theological allies: Jesus Christ, God incarnate, God crucified, God risen. Simplicity; faithful to Scripture’s most important message: God is with us, to the end of days (Matthew 28:20).

The message of Penn’s masterwork is one we must be especially mindful of this day, Good Friday: we should carry the cross of Christ with us at all times. We should know that Jesus Christ, God incarnate, suffered and died this very day two millenia ago. Suffered and died a most heinous death on our behalf. Nothing we did, or have done since, earned this gift.

The end of Jesus’ earthly ministry was captured very simply by Matthew. From The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 27:

45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is arguably the most important event in human history. Whether you believe, or not, it has shaped our world. For the better.


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