Last year, shortly after Easter, as I pulled into my church parking lot for work, I saw a coworker pushing a dolly with our big wooden cross on it. Unknowingly, preached a sermon to me that day. When your cross is too heavy you can put it on a dolly! There are times we need help and that is ok. What is important is that we take up the cross and follow Him. Luke 9: 23, “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’” Jesus did not suggest we follow Him. No, He made it very clear. If you want to be His disciple you MUST deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. When we take up our cross, daily, we are telling Christ to take the lead and we will follow. This may lead to God pushing us out of our comfort zones. What cross are you being told to bear?
On that Friday, they hung Jesus on a cross and he died. For those who love Jesus, that is very sad. We know that a miracle would happen but those who placed his body in a tomb did not know. It was a very sad day for them. When I think of Good Friday, it is sad to think of what Jesus went through. And to think He went through that for me and for you makes me feel bad. The reality is there was plenty of good on that sad Friday. While His crucifixion was not good, the results were good. As Paul preached in 1 Corinthians 15: 3, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” And the Bible tells us this is good news in verse 2 NLT. “It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you.” And more good news! When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He lives inside of us! Romans 8: 10-11, “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
This is great news because we all need Jesus. Hebrews 4: 16, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” God used something very, very sad for something very, very good! Just like He still does. Romans 8: 28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Mark 8: 34, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” After giving my life to Christ, I was asked, “what do you plan to do about it”. I remember answering that I wanted to be a disciple for Christ. This was very hard for me when I knew God was pushing me in a direction that I did not want to go. But I told Him I would, only, for Him. That was my cross and is still my cross to bear. But I have learned, after 30 years, that I can confront this and bear it in His name. When He came to earth He shared human suffering so He understands what we go through. He understands that there are times I will carry that cross but I may need to put that cross on a dolly! After we go through the suffering we will be transformed into something new! Taking up our cross means Jesus has become more precious to us than our comfort.
What did Jesus do with his cross? He carried it to Golgotha. Golgotha is a hill near Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. It is known as Calvary. It is known as a place of suffering, sacrifice and a place of burial. Jesus died on Golgotha. Jesus Christ is talking spiritually about our cross. We are to carry it to Golgotha and die there as we follow him at any price. Today, take up your cross!
Let’s remember the day Jesus gave His life for someone like you and I. Have a blessed Good Friday!