To Take Up His Cross

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Yesterday's OYB reading led me to ask the question:

A thought occurs to me: what, exactly, does Jesus mean here by “cross”? What is it that we must take up in order to follow Him? I understand the denial of self, but what of the cross? The cross is a burden, a punishment, a symbol of sin; but do these things represent what Jesus calls us to “take up” in order to follow Him? Aren’t these the very things we give up to Him - the things He took upon Himself for us? So, if not these things, then what?

Commenter John responded:

16:24 Now the Lord Jesus plainly states what is involved in being His disciple: denial of self, cross-bearing, and following Him. To deny self is not the same as self-denial; it means to yield to His control so completely that self has no rights whatever. To take up the cross means the willingness to endure shame, suffering, and perhaps martyrdom for His sake; to die to sin, self, and the world. To follow Him means to live as He lived with all that involves of humility, poverty, compassion, love, grace, and every other godly virtue.

MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. 1997, c1995. Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

(Emphasis added)

Interesting thought; this commentary seems to say that for one to "take up his cross" really means to take up the Cross of Christ. That is, we take on the same suffering Christ endured and die to the very things for which Christ died. What an interesting paradigm: Christ died for our sins, so likewise we die to our sins. Christ suffered for our sins so that we might live; likewise we suffer for the cause of Christ, that Christ may be glorified in our lives. Christ endured the pain, suffering, and punishment for our sins; we allow our own sinful nature to be changed into His likeness, and our iniquities to be eradicated and replaced with His Spirit. He chose to endure all in order to fulfill and perfect our faith; we choose to throw off every sin and hindrance that sets itself against us and we choose to have faith in the one who conquored that sin and shame.

You know, we really do get the good end of this deal!

OYB: January 26

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 2:11-25, Exodus 3
NT: Matthew 17:10-27
Ps: Psalm 22:1-18
Pr: Proverbs 5:7-14

Today´s notable verse:

God said to Moses, "I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

Exodus 3:14 (NIV)

"I AM" - YHWH - Yahweh: The Name of God! Reading here that God names Himself "I AM" reminds me of several instances where Jesus uses "I AM" or similar: Mark 14:61-63, John 4:25-27, John 8:57-59, John 18:5-9, Revelation 22:7-20.

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - I realize that reading Psalm 22 and seeing some of the images I posted up can evoke a lot of emotions. I am wondering, how often do you meditate upon Jesus' passion and death? Do you do this just around Good Friday each year? Or more often? How do you meditate upon the Lord's passion and death? Are movies like "The Passion of the Christ" helpful for you to do this? Or are their other things you read or watch or do? Do you think we should or should not meditate upon Jesus' passion and death more often than once a year? Why or why not?

Wow, talk about a heavy discussion topic! I never did see The Passion in the theater, though I did finally buy it on DVD to watch it at home. What stuck out to me about the movie - and what I think is the very reason it was so impactful - was how vividly the movie depicted Jesus' demonstration of true, perfect, complete, God-like love. The longer I live, and the more experiences I have, the more I meditate on the passion and death of Christ - for it is the humility and perspective gained from such meditation that enables me to emulate that love more and more. As "die to self" becomes a more daily principle, the more I am keenly aware of Christ's death - for it is in comparison to His ultimate sacrifice that I realize that any sacrifice I could make not only pales in comparison, but also that any such sacrifice - impossible on my own - is entirely possible when I allow the power of identification of Christ's death to work through me.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Filed in Personal

What happened January 26, 1948? The greatest dad ever was born!

Happy Birthday, Dad! Here's to years of scratch golfing!