Summary: A different perspective of what it means to take up your cross.
March 29, 2009
Text: Luke 9:23
Subject: The Cross
Title: If Anyone Would Come After Me
For the last four weeks some of you have been attending the community Lenten services at the various churches. I think it is kind of funny that some of our churches that participate in those events don’t even follow a liturgical calendar and those don’t even observe Lent and many of the churches that do are not participating. One of the things that I have noticed during this time and through my years in a church that did observe lent is the infatuation with the idea of “giving up” something for lent as if somehow that would make you better prepared to celebrate the Resurrection. One of the recurring themes of the Lenten services is just that – what are you willing to give up, or how much are you willing to suffer, or how pitiful a Christian are you willing to be at this time?
I participate in those services, not because I observe lent, but because they are community services. I want to be out in the churches. Who knows when somebody might get the Holy Ghost and will need to know what to do with it! They’ll at least know there is someone they can go to in order to find out.
What I want to do with you today is to challenge your way of thinking. Maybe you have never participated in these Lenten services, but I wonder how many of you have gone about in your Christian walk with the Lenten mentality hanging over you.
Turn to Mark 10. I want to begin by reading verses 32-34. 32They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33“We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
Real quickly I want to look at four things in these verses.
1. They were on their way to Jerusalem.
2. Jesus led the way even though verses 33-34 say that He knew what was going to happen.
3. His disciples were astonished. Those who followed Him all this time couldn’t believe that HE was doing this.
4. All others who tagged along were afraid. It doesn’t say they were afraid for Him – just that they were afraid.
The reason that Jesus was willing to lead the way was because He saw the ultimate outcome – the defeat of the devil. And He wants us to see the same thing for our lives.
Luke 9:23, Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
I want to take you to the cross of Jesus today to show you that it is not what many people make it out to be – a cross of sorrow and sadness and penance – but a cross of cleansing and power and enablement and action.
Lord open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the church.