The Way of the Cross

Then he [Jesus] said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”   Luke 9:23-26 (NLT)

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. …

If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” John 14:1-3, 15-17 (NLT)

I hope that all of you are part of a group that hears teachings that include the Cross of Christ. If you can’t remember the last time you heard a teaching about the Cross, then find a new group because you are missing the point of your faith.

Paul told the Corinthian church that he wasn’t ashamed to speak of such a horrific thing, this crucifixion of Christ, even if it seemed foolish to some to believe in a Messiah that would allow Himself to be killed and in such a humiliating way (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). And here I am, a disciple of such a Messiah.

“Take up your cross every day, Jody.” my Savior tells me. And some days I can feel the weight of the cross. It is the weight of choosing to live my life after Jesus’ example when my steps are trudging up a path that seems like Calvary, lonely and painful. Look at Jesus’ words in Luke’s gospel. If I wonder why my days are sometimes just plain hard, then I need to lift my eyes and find the Light because I am following Jesus! However – Jesus also said that His yoke for me is easy and the burdens not heavy (Matthew 11:30). How do these two pictures come together? Jesus wants me to learn from Him and allow Him to carry my burdens. He doesn’t want me bowed down in this weight. He wants me to turn to Him and let go.

“Let go of your way, Jody, and walk in My Way,” Jesus says. I “met” a couple last Sunday over the livestream of the worship service that my daughter and her family attend in Missouri. They are around my age. He is a physician and his wife is a dentist. They have left behind the plan that they had for their lives and are caring for special needs children and their families in the Ukraine. They are caring for a group of people who are, at best neglected but more often are actively shunned by society. These children will know who Jesus is because they will see Him in this couple and those who are following in His Way. What do people see when they look at me? Is it Jesus or is He hidden behind my wants and my pursuit of what society (even my family and friends) may determine is success? It is very hard to let go of what might be good in order to embrace what is God.

I want to be with Jesus in Paradise for all eternity. Jesus promised it to the thief next to Him as He hung on the Cross. He promised it to me the night I said, “I need You, Jesus, come into my life.” But there is a cross to carry every day on the road that leads to that eternal glory. The Advocate, the Comforter, will be with me every step with His truth, His wisdom, and His strength. Thank You, Jesus, for that promise!

Holy Spirit Rain Down written by Russell Fragar and sung by Hillsong Worship Team

 

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