As we prepare for Resurection Sunday, I would like to talk about the cross a bit. As we start, I would like to focus on the cross from a different perspective. You see, the cross is probably the biggest difficulty in explaining our faith. Martin De Graff talked to us yesterday about how the cross is the stumbling point when speaking to non Christians. And that it is in fact, not only confronting, but down right insulting. "What do you mean, that someone had to be murdered for me?" And I will get into the cross, and what it means to us, and why its so difficult to understand for those that aren't in our club. But first I would like to look at something from a different point of view. I would like to look not at Jesus' cross, but rather my cross.
In the eighth chapter of Mark, Jesus says that we are to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. That if we seek to find our life we lose it, but in losing our life we find it. It appears to me that for all of our focus on Jesus' cross, we have a very lacking understanding of what it means to pick up our own cross.
Now before guessing where I am going with this do me a favour, stop and reflect for a second on what your cross is.
If you are like most Christians, myself included the first thing you think of is the difficulties you are experiencing. Or a particular temptation or sin that you are constantly fighting against. Well, this definately is part of our Christian walk. And I believe this is definately what Paul was talking about when he tells us of his "thorn in the flesh", but this is hardly our cross. I have heard people talk about their arthritis as their cross, or their struggle with pornography, or even their spouse. But my friends, this is not even close to being your cross.
Now before I go any further let me not minimize suffering. We must acknowledge that much is gained in our suffering, and as we offer our suffering up to God, we get true fellowship with God, and as we are told in scripture, we participate or have fellowship with Jesus' suffering. And this truely is a beautiful thing, I do not make light of it at all.
However, Jesus cross took His life. And your cross, must take your life as well. There is no difference in our crosses, they all are the death of us. As Jesus said, when we seek to lose our life, we truly find it. The cross I am called to pick up is the one that kills me, so that I may be truly resurected in Christ. I think Paul in Romans summed it up best when he says, the only reasonable way to worship God, is to offer our very lives, as a sacrificial offering. When God sent the once born son, into the world to die on the cross, the love of God was proved. But in the same way Jesus was sent to the world to fulfill Gods love, we are now sent by Jesus, to fulfill Gods love to the world. When I understand, that like Jesus, I am to lay down my life for others, to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave off my selfish ways to serve others, I am understanding the kingdom of God, and violently bringing it into this world. We are called to imitate Christ, not just in morality, but in the very essence of His life, which is the calling of the cross. We are not excused of this. God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten son, and my friends, He still loves the world so that He sends His adopted sons and daughters, to give their lives for it as well.
I think that we may understand the legal part of the cross, and the love of God through the cross, but the true disciple of Jesus must experience the cross of Jesus, by taking up there own cross. It is in this, that we truely understand the Christ. I pray I might have the courage, to give up my life, that I might live. And I pray the same for you.