Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lift High the Cross

Matthew 10:38
Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Several Sundays ago, Pastor Wallace's sermon focused on Jesus' command to "take up the cross". In the minds of His disciples, this statement would have conjured up repulsive, gruesome images of the Roman practice of crucifixion, reserved for only the most heinous of criminals and enemies of the state. It certainly didn't connect with their preconceived notions of a Messiah come to put the world to right.

Can't you just hear the mumblings and murmurings among the Twelve?

"Take up a cross? Has He lost His marbles?"

"What does He mean by this take-up-the-cross business?"

"I thought the Lord was all about healing and forgiveness. Why would He lead us down a path of destruction?"

"Certainly, Jesus would never go to the cross!"

"And, expect us to follow Him? Really?"

"But, He said, if we don't, we aren't worthy of Him."

"I don't get it . . ."

And, sometimes, neither do we.

As Pastor Wallace pointed out, we cannot pick and choose the cross we bear in this life. We might want the glittery, gem-encrusted cross of a seamless, successful Pollyanna life, but be handed the old rugged one, gnarled and contorted with illness, disappointments, and heartbreak. It's not the cross we get; it's all in how we bear it.

When we remember that Jesus took up the burden of the cross, impossibly weighted with all our sins, for us, we can find the strength and grace to carry our crosses, faithfully and courageously, through life. We can lift them high to Him whom we follow in faith and hope. We can become worthy.

What cross do you bear today?

Readings
Psalms 18:1-20 or 18:21-50
Jeremiah 38:1-13
1 Corinthians 14:26-33a, 37-40
Matthew 10:34-42



10 comments:

  1. These words hold much truth as we should be able to handle the weight placed upon our shoulders as Jesus accepted his with dignity. By facing challenges and roadblocks head on we prove that he didn't die in vain...Your posts always give me much to ponder. Blessings!! :)

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  2. Thank you, David, for your wonderful reflection and encouraging words.
    We can shoulder our crosses because He has already done so for us, more than we can ever truly know. He is there for us, ready to put His arms around us, and bring us safely through all the storms of life.
    God bless you, my friend!

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  3. The comment I deleted related to what Jesus actually meant as He commanded His disciples to take up the cross. I am not clear on that.

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  4. Very intuitive.Every day we carry our crosses some times as burden or some times as responsibilities....that is what shapes our character.

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  5. Thanks, Hank and Janu, for stopping by!
    @Hank - According to Pastor Wallace, Jesus was alluding both to his own death on the cross and that following Him would not be without risk of persecution and even death.
    @Janu - I agree that our characters are shaped to become more Christ-like when we view it as an honor to carry our crosses.
    Blessings to you both!

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  6. Whether we consider them crosses to bear or burdens to over come, realizing and admitting you are not alone is the answer.

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  7. Thanks, Jan, for stopping by! Yes, knowing we are not alone in life's struggles is a daily blessing for us.
    Blessings to you!:)

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  8. Have a wonderful Blessed Christmas and remember CHrist did it all on the cross. There is no condemnation to those who walk after the spirit...God wants us to be blessed...ENjoy time with friends and family...

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    1. Thanks for coming by and commenting, Kimmy! So appreciated!
      Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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Pray!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ...