A Resurrected Life of Hope.
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Lk 9:23.
The cross of Christ. What does one envision upon hearing those words? So much comes to mind when I think of it. The supreme symbol of Christianity. No matter the denomination, if you call yourself a Christian, the cross is at the center of your belief. A place of resurrection, new life, redemption and hope.
The glory side has a gory side with which we all have to come to terms.
The cross was the worst form of capital punishment in Rome. They didn't just mercifully execute you with lethal injection. Death was not enough. They made you feel the extent of your sin. They made sinners pay while alive, to feel as much or more pain by inflicting it upon them. They shamed them in front of spectators, stripping away every dignity and watched them die, sometimes taking days. Usually they wouldn't even bury them, but their bodies would be left to decompose where they lay. It would be a reminder to others of the consequence of going against Roman law.
Jesus knew this was why He came. Couldn't He have waited for a more civilized time? Couldn't He have died an easier death and accomplish the same thing? After all He was innocent of all accusations and He was to die as though he committed them all!
And this is the point. He took them all and paid for them all in the most flagrant manner so we all could go free.
So, I'm pondering the question, how do I take up my cross? What is my cross? Is it anything that brings shame? Is it guilt I feel? Is it the feeling of unworthiness? Is it the acts I perform or the thoughts I think or the motives I harbor within?
Maybe taking it up means holding it in higher esteem than any of my sin or your sin because that's where all sin was made powerless by the one who was all powerful.
And after that, we follow Christ? Where? We have to follow Him off the cross. We can't stay there taking the punishment for our own sin. He was resurrected and no longer carries our sin. So should we neither carry ours. He still has the marks in His hands and feet and we should never forget that it is Him who gave us our freedom (Lk 24:40). So I follow Him by living a ressurected life where sin does not reign.
"Not that I have already attained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Phil 3:12.
It is a process. I am daily being challenged to believe and take hold of what Christ secured. He is constantly saying "come follow me", not so much to a pyhsical place, but a place of rest for my soul. Then I learn contentment in any place I am.
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