Think on the cross….

The cross is a common icon in today’s culture. It would not have been back in Jesus’ day.

Crucifixion was so abhorrent that it wasn’t even a subject spoken of in good company. The subject was avoided by decent people, because it was so brutal and shameful. A punishment reserved only for outsiders to Rome, and the worst of criminals. The people were whipped mercilessly, stripped naked and nailed to die over days in agony.

Imagine walking by a hill where a man was crucified, screaming in pain, carrion birds circling around him, flies feeding off the torn flesh, and the helpless man unable to do anything, trying to avoid writhing in agony because it would only increase the pain.

Romans were experts on inflicting pain, a fact they would be most proud to admit. The agony of the cross was so great they invented a new Latin word to describe it.“excruciatus” which means “From the cross.” It is from this word we get the English word “excruciating.” Consider the source of that word whenever you use it.

This is the fate of Christ. A fate that we sealed for him by our sins. Thus the hymn writer gives a different approach to the flippant, prominence of the cross among us sinners.

Thus might I hide my blushing face

While His dear cross appears

Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,

And melt mine eyes to tears

~Isaac Watts 1674-1748 (Alas and Did My Savior Bleed)

This is the image Christ brings up when he described who must follow him in Luke 9:23.

Discipleship is a lifelong process of following Jesus.Three things to consider.

  1. Discipleship is a decision, not an inheritance.
    1. Jesus calls many saying “Follow Me” and they either drop everything and follow or they turn back and he says, you are not fit for this service (Luke 9:62). They have to make the decision to follow
    2. There is a contrast to the old covenant where people become children of God by descent whereas now it is becoming children of God by consent.
    3. God has no grandchildren:Every person must make a personal choice to be a “child” of God. Parents cannot make that for them.
  2. Discipleship is a condition
    1. Denying ourselves is the antithesis of what happened in the garden of Eden in Genesis.
    2. Just because a person begins doesn’t mean they will remain committed.
  3. Discipleship is simple yet profound
    1. Just making the daily choices to do the right thing.Be imitators of Christ.

The changes God wants to make in your life as part of being a follower are difficult to comprehend. The world avoids the thoughts of doing God’s calling.They are arrogant and wish to live their own way.

I cannot come to God as I am. I must come as I have been bought by Jesus.

Jesus saved us for discipleship. Salvation is a byproduct. Jesus saved us to change us, and make us different than when we were before we knew Him.