Monday, December 1, 2008

The Weight Of A Cross

Matthew 16:24 - Then Jesus said to His disciples. "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me."

Do we really know what this means? Do we really know what Jesus did for us when He carried that cross? Do we fully understand the sacrifice the Father made by sending His son?

God the Father knew when He created us that we would fall from grace. He knew that He would have to send His own son to die on a cross to save us. Even though He knew all this He still created us. Having us was that important to Him. Imagine being a parent and having to send your own child to His death.

Jesus was involved from the beginning of creation also. He knew what He would eventually have to pay for our sin. He knew before we were created that He would have to endure unbearable circumstances to save us. We were worth that much to Him.

The Holy Spirit also knew what the price would be before creation. He knew that He would be sent to live in us and we would continually grieve Him. He too deemed us worth it.

God knew how it would be and yet here we are. But do we really understand the sacrifice that was made on the cross. The pain endured by Jesus Christ to pay for our sins. God came to this earth in human form and lived a sinless life only to be crucified on a cross. Death by crucifixion, the most painful, cruel and humiliating form of punishment ever devised by man. Only slaves and criminals were hung on a cross. Romans were exempt from such a death.

But there is more, the people He created chanted and called for His death. They told Pilate to free the criminal Barabbas instead an innocent man. Jesus was tortured and beaten, almost to the point of death. The implement used to scourge Him tore out big hunks of flesh so he was covered in His own blood. He was brutalized over and over, stripe after stripe. Then He was turned over to the soldiers to be crucified.

Wait, that wasn't enough. It wasn't enough that this innocent man, the savior of the world was barely able to walk from the beating. Or that He was covered with blood that dripped in pools on the ground. No, first He must be mocked and humiliated. Mocked for the claim He had made of being King of Kings. So they stripped Him down, put a scarlet robe on Him and twisted a crown of thorns. The crown was placed on His head so the thorns dug deeply into His skin. A reed was put in His right hand to represent the scepter of a King. They knelt before Him sneering and laughing, saying "Hail, King of the Jews!" They spat on Him, in His humiliation. Then took the reed and stuck it into His side. In His weakened state, He was then made to carry His own cross that He would die on.

He carried a cross that is said to have weighed between 75 to 125 pounds. No wonder he fell by the weight of it. His cross was not a light one to carry. It was also burdened with the sins of all of us. On that cross were the sins of the entire world; past, future and present. Then in His last moments on this earth as the sins of the world were laid on Him, He was alone. Not even His Father could look on Him. What a heavy weight to bare. One that you or I could never carry.

Because of that cross He carried, our penalty of death was defeated. When He rose again on the third day and defeated death we were freed from the penalty our sin carried with it.

Thankfully we are not called to carry the cross that Jesus was made to bare. We are only called to deny ourselves, pick up OUR cross and FOLLOW Him.

We must deny ourselves; put aside our own desires, abstain from what our flesh would want. Then pick up our cross, which is the message of what Christ did. We are to be steward of the message of Christ as we follow where He leads.

In John 7:38 Jesus says - "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

As we deny ourselves and abide in His spirit, the living water of Christ will flow out of us. It is that living water of Christ that changes the lives of others.


Anonymous said...

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! I did not think about how much God truly loved me until I totally surrendered my life to Him and began studying His Word. For God to sacrifice His only begotten Son for us simply brings me to tears. I would become so guilt ridden when I would think about this. I thought about all the times I turned my back on Him and did not think at all about Him. But praise the Lord He did not forget or give up on me. I thank Him everyday for sacrificing His Son for my sins. I thank Him for loving me so much to do this. Guess what? I LOVE YOU TOO! Blessings!

Lori said...

When trials and adversity try their best to overcome me, thoughts of what Christ had to endure for me...just humbles me. Jesus learned obedience from His sufferings. He was obedient to the Father. I am so completely speechless at what Jesus did for me. How can I offer Him any less than all of me?

Peter P said...

Awesome post!

I tried writing about the same thing a month or so ago ( but you did a way better job of it!

I know in reality I rarely truly take up my cross, although I like to say that I do.

Much to ponder...

L.L. Barkat said...

Denying myself. Oddly, this is the thing I find most simple and most difficult.

Melanie Yardley said...

Truly becoming a new creation in Christ by throwing off our old one, our self. The book of Romans mirrors this post. Thanks :)