Boasting in the Cross of Christ

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14a)

Judaizers were compelling Gentile converts to be circumcised in order to be truly right with God (Gal 2:4). St. Paul would have none of that. In very strong words, St. Paul boasts in the Cross, not in circumcision, as the means of salvation.

The world is crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal 6:14b)

Crucifixion means death. Therefore, to say that the world is “crucified” to me means that the world is “dead” to me. For St. Paul, all the things in the world seem dead, and therefore count as nothing to him; vice-versa, he seems dead to all worldly pursuits, desires, and allurements.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. (Gal 6:17)

Some people take this verse to mean that St. Paul claimed to bear the stigmata – the five holy wounds of Christ. In the context of the subject of circumcision, St. Paul compares two kinds of marks on his body: the mark of circumcision and the marks of his apostolic labors (2 Cor 11:22–31), such as floggings (Acts 16:22; 2 Cor 11:25) and stonings (Acts 14:19); it is in these latter marks, and not circumcision, whereby St. Paul bears witness to Christ.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place He intended to visit. The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:1-20)

Jesus teaches his disciples to rejoice for the right reasons. They were not to rejoice because of their newfound power over demons, and rightly so because this power is not theirs to begin with. Rather, they were to rejoice because their names were written in heaven.

Do you boast about something, perhaps your good looks or intelligence? What do you rejoice in?  Do you rejoice when you’re popular, or when people flatter you?

Suggestions on what to rejoice in:

  1. Rejoice when you are poor in spirit, for it is then that you can put your trust in God.
  2. Rejoice when you mourn, for it is then that God consoles you.
  3. Rejoice when you are meek, for it is then that God protects you.
  4. Rejoice when you hunger and thirst for righteousness, for it is then that God makes things right for you.
  5. Rejoice when you are merciful, for it is then that God forgives you.
  6. Rejoice when you are pure in heart, for it is then that God hears you.
  7. Rejoice when you are a peacemaker, for it is then that God’s peace dwells in your heart.
  8. Rejoice when you are persecuted for Christ’s sake, for it is then that you are destined for heaven.