Craving for cross!
Verse for Today: Thursday, June 28, 2012
Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
The cross has become well known in the world today because of Jesus. But it has emerged lately as a mark of organized religion and a symbol of religious identity, status and a fashion icon. The cross of Jesus was a symbol of curse, rejection and sacrifice. It characterized the sum total of the despising, resentment, abuse, suffering, persecution, hatred and shame. But Jesus willingly took the cross to die for the sins of humanity. He desired that His disciples carry their cross and live a rejected, resentful, and despising life. Following Jesus means walking the Calvary Road carrying the cross. When we identify ourselves with Jesus and follow the principles He taught and practiced, we should expect experiences like that of Jesus including the cross. Thus our cross becomes our willingness to be rejected and despised by the world for Jesus’ sake. If we walk the Calvary Road carrying the cross, we would receive the same treatment Jesus received from the world. The world would pour out shame and despising on us as He was subjected to. When we reject the world and all that it would offer us, the world would call us fools or unintelligent people which a true disciple would consider as a covetable qualification. The world offered Jesus kingdom without realizing that He was already the King. Today the world offers to make us prestigious and prominent. But if we reject its offer, and instead take up the cross and become like fools for Jesus’ sake, the world would ridicule and despise us. For the true disciple, it is the greatest thrill to take up the cross and become a fool for Christ. Today Jesus challenges us to boldly take up the cross and follow Him and be rejected because of Him. It would mean we joyfully endure sufferings, pain, resentment, ridicule, mockery, threat, intimidation and persecution. It would be subjugation and mutilation which cause intense physical and emotional pain. But it is the way we express our love and loyalty to Jesus.
Dear reader, are you being persecuted for the sake of the Lord who willingly went through persecution for you? Is the world calling you a fool and an unintelligent person because you reject the fortune of this world and willingly accept isolation, poverty, emotional intimidation, loss of dignity and status? Perhaps you are experiencing rejection and resentment from the members of your family and friends who mean a lot to you. Perhaps you are hated by people because you stand for the truth at the work place or other spheres of activity. They will hate you if you do not agree with them or support them in their worldly pursuits. People might dislike you because of your ministries. Some might reject you because of their spirit of competition and desire to win. Perhaps you are evicted from your spheres of Christian activities through manipulations. Some might take over or take away your job or business because you do not react or fight. Yes, dear reader, when you carry the cross, you cannot fight for your rights because all your rights are crucified with Christ. On the Calvary road, you will have to walk with tight lips and without any reaction to all the atrocities leveled against you because your lips are crucified with Christ. Just as the Lord Jesus did not revile when reviled against and did not threaten when He was threatened, you need to pray that the Father forgive all who ill-treat you. Let us entrust ourselves with our cause to the Lord and be quiet. Let us look to Him for the rewards He has set apart for us because we suffer silently for Him which is a fitting response to His suffering in silence for us. Such an attitude of joy and praise will be our greatest strength when we walk the Calvary Road carrying our cross to follow Jesus.
Galatians 6:14 – May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!
Thought for Today
Thirst for carrying the cross is the mark of a disciple’s response to the shame and rejection his Lord endured for him.
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