Summary: A true follower of Jesus will have no trouble taking up the Cross.

Text: Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

We claim to be Christians which indicates that we follow the “words in red” that are printed in our Bible. The “words in red” are the words spoken by a man named Jesus who was sent into the world by a loving, caring, compassionate Father.

The “words in red” were spoken 2000 plus years ago to people just like us. They were spoken to people who were living worldly instead of Godly. People were doing things and committing acts thought to be acceptable because society approved of them.

This is pretty much the same as today. If it feels good, do it. Do your own thing because you only live once. If what I do does not hurt anyone else, why should anyone else care?

The truth of the matter is that someone else does care and that person is God the Father who created you in His own image. I am not saying He created you or me sinless. He did create two sinless people in His own image. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).

After disobedience to God took place sin entered the world because disobedience to God is sin. Yes, we are created in the image of God, that image being the positive attributes of God, but we are created with the sinful nature of Adam and Eve.

Once sin entered the world, life for mankind took a radical change. Prior to the act of disobedience, God provided the beautiful garden, The Garden of Eden, for Adam and Eve to reside. Everything necessary for life was in the garden. There was no hard work. There was not toiling labor to be done. They were in good hands. They had it made and did not realize it. But all this changed and mankind has suffered the consequences down through history.

After the act of disobedience, God said to Adam: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:17-19).

God said to the Eve; “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16).

Sin is a pollutant and mankind has lived in the polluted stream of sin from the beginning of time. God did not approve of sin in the beginning and He does not approve of it today. He did not give up on His creation of mankind following the act of disobedience, but He did provide them with “garments of skin” to cover their nakedness. “So then the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken” (Genesis 3:23).

Mankind became separated from God. The kind of relationship that existed before the fall was not the same that existed after the fall. God still loved His creation, but there was a void or a separation between sinful man and righteous God. That same separation is evident in the life of many people today.

God had a plan that would give people an opportunity to regain that right relationship with Him. He talked about this plan through his prophets throughout the years of history.

Psalm 22 is referred to many times in the New Testament. Verses 7, 8 indicates how the coming Messiah will be treated. Verse 7 says, “All those who see Me ridicule Me.” Verse 8 says, “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him.”

This prophecy came true as expressed in the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 27. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God’” (vv 43, 43).

The 16 verse of Psalm 22 is another prophecy concerning the Messiah. “They pierced My hands and My feet.” This actually took place at the crucifixion of Jesus. Nails were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet and into the wood of the cross. After the resurrection, Jesus showed these to Thomas and Thomas then believed. (John 20:25)

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