PICK UP THE CROSS

Heb. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

The cross has never been a popular message. When Jesus spoke about it to Peter, Peter rebuked the Lord; not a very good idea. Peter had no understanding, at that point, of why Jesus really came. It wasn’t until after His death that these things began to be more clear. The message of the cross really has a two-fold meaning for us. Jesus died for our sins and Jesus taught us how to die to sin. The first purpose of the cross is how we begin our Christian faith. We look to Christ, high and lifted up at Calvary, and by faith in His sacrificial death we are born again. This is the only way for us to discover God. Once this experience opens up our eyes we begin to see the second function of the cross. Jesus said it like this in Matt. 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”. We are asked to die daily to this life as we follow Jesus in this new way of life. Here is how Andrew Murray describes it.
“And what was the meaning of this death? And wherein lies its efficacy? In Scripture there is a twofold aspect in which the death of Christ, as our Head, is set before us. The one is that He died for sin, bearing its curse, and suffering death as God’s righteous judgment on account of it . His death opened up the way to God for us. It did for us what we cannot and need not do; it wrought out a finished salvation, which we have but to accept and repose upon. According to the other aspect, He died to sin. His death was a proof of His resistance to sin and its temptation, of His readiness rather to give up life than yield to sin; a proof that there is no way of being entirely free from the flesh and its connection with sin, but by yielding the old life to death, in order to receive afresh and direct from God a life entirely new.”
This word about the cross can only be received by faith. Just as one day you saw in a moment that Christ died for your sins, the Spirit of the Lord will open your eyes to the blessing of picking up the cross of Jesus. It is in bearing His reproach that we enter in to the joy of the Lord in this life.

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