Summary: A sermon that accompanies the Good Friday service, the way of the cross. It encourages us to see that the cross is necessary for our future and it is the way for all Christians.

Many people encounter difficulties in their life,

but how many of us are prepared to constantly encounter difficulties

so others can benefit, which might cost us something and where we might lose something?

One day a fireman, attending a blaze heard that there was a little baby still in a blazing two story house.

As soon as the fireman was able to get the little girl out the window and into a rescue net, the building collapsed, and he died.

Twenty years later, at a graveside with a statue of a fireman, stood a twenty-year old sobbing woman. A man stopped and asked politely, “Was that your father or brother?” “No,” she replied, “That’s the man who died for me.”

And on the cross Jesus did something for each one us,

Jesus didn’t endure the abuse, beatings and death for himself,

His journey to the cross lead Him to die for you.

Today we have walked with Jesus to the cross.

This walk is significant for you in at least two ways.

Throughout His ministry Jesus indicated that God’s approach to solving the big problems in our lives is the cross,

and St Paul continues this message as he helps the early Christian communities get established..

For instance in Matthew chapter 16 verse 24 to 25 as his disciples he says to us, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

As disciples of Jesus Christ,

the cross is our insight into how we live,

how we see life and how we relate to God and others.

It is through the cross that our future is secured.

It should influence everything about us.

We encounter difficulties and challenges not just for our own benefit,

but so others can benefit.

Some of these challenges may be massive like the fireman story,

others maybe small like giving up a little time to have a coffee or tea with someone rather than rushing off to do your own thing

by putting up with people who have different opinions to you.

If you are wondering what to reflect on today?

I encourage you to reflect on your life,

‘Who can I help and encourage with the time, skills and resources you have been given?’

‘Who can I help and encourage with the time, skills and resources you have been given?’

And also think about Who has God placed in your life?

Neighbours, friends, difficult people, customers, employees, visitors?

Following the cross means not only using our time, resources and skills when it suits us and when it is easy.

But also using them when it is difficult,

when the pressure is on,

when people are not the easiest to get along with.

Following the cross involves actively seeking to help others as much as you can but putting yourself out.

At times we do this.

At times we go out of our way for others.

However there are other times when we don’t?

When it is too much of an inconvenience.

And this is when the more significant aspect of the way of the cross comes into our lives.

You see no matter how much we do or how well we do it

we can’t join Jesus on the cross and have the same affect as Him.

And there is one simple reason for this.

In our reading today the centurion identified this when he said,

Jesus is a righteous man,

or as the New Living translation bible says,

Jesus is an innocent man.

Jesus never failed in living up to God’s expectations but we do.

Jesus didn’t deserve to be punished

but he walked the way to the cross for you and me..

He walked the way of the cross for our all failures.

Jesus trip to the cross did something for you and me that we can never do for ourselves.

Jesus endured the punishment we deserve for being a sinner.

Now its important to keep in mind God doesn’t just people as sinners who do something really bad.

He says a sinner is someone who doesn’t live perfectly according to His expectations

By either doing wrong or failing to do right.

But in Jesus walking the way of the cross,

God doesn’t look at followers of Jesus as sinners.

He doesn’t see Jesus’ followers as people owing Him a huge debt for their sin.

Instead He sees them as people who Jesus endured suffering and death for.

As people who now have their place in heaven guaranteed because their sins have been forgiven.

So as you reflect on Good Friday

and Jesus’ walk to the cross,

remember all his suffering and his death was for you,

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