Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The cross is always ready

 There is no holier way than the royal way of the cross. 

The cross isn't given to justify self but to glorify God.

The cross kills self, not others around it.


The cross is not something that randomly happens to you. The cross is something that Jesus gives to those who are truly devoted to Him. 

The cross doesn't deal with the individuals who injure you. It deals with what is inside of you that would cause you to retaliate when injured. 

The cross isn't about what evils others have done to you but about what God is able to do through you, in them, as you patiently endure those evils. 

Sometimes, the greatest difficulty in bearing the cross is not the pain it causes you, but the pain it causes others. Truth hurts.

In the cross is intimacy with Jesus. In the cross is fullness of joy. In the cross is victory over sin, the world, and death.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1). 

Jesus said, "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me".

When others have slandered you, betrayed you, rejected you, cursed you, and hurt you again and again, but then reach out to you in their need how do you feel? What is your first inclination? Is it to "cut them off" to "shun them" to "give them a piece of your mind disguised as a loving rebuke"? Do you seek to devise a way for them to experience the pain and grief that they have caused you? Do you feel inclined to treat them the way that they treated you? As they have hurt you do you desire to hurt them? 

That is the way of the world. Those are the thoughts and feelings of those who do not know God. For the apostle said, "The world through its wisdom did not know God" (1 Corinthians 1) but Jesus said, "Father the world has not known you but I have known you and these have known that you sent Me" (John 17). Jesus embraced the cross, however foolish the world may judge it. He knew and has proven throughout the ages by the cross, that the foolishness of God is wiser than men. 

Jesus is the Wisdom and Power of God (1 Corinthians 1). What if Jesus replied to you the way He did to others in Scripture:

(You) That man over there grabbed my stuff and ran off with it all . . .

(Jesus) “Do not ask for him to return it”. (Luke 6:30)

(You) Master, speak to my brother that he divides the inheritance with me.

(Jesus) Man, who hath appointed me judge, or divider, over you? Take heed and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things which he possesses (Luke 12:14-15).

(You) Lord, how often shall my brother do something to offend me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

(Jesus) I say not to you, till seven times; but till seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:22).

(You) My wife left me. Shall file for divorce and find another wife?

(Jesus) Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committs adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committs adultery. Remain alone or wait to be reconciled. (Mark 10:11-12; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 7:11).

(You) That man over there spit in my face and punched me. What should I do if he does it again?

(Jesus) Resist not evil…If someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other (Matthew 5:38-39). 

(You) I just labored night and day for these people and they are taking advantage of me and filing an unjust lawsuit. 

(Jesus) If any man will sue you through the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloke also.

(You) Those men bombed some of our stations and buildings! What shall we do?

(Jesus) Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…For if you love them which love you, what reward do you have (Matthew 5:44, 46, Luke 6)?

(You) Those who belong to the religion of that country and the atheists in the other country are oppressing those who don’t agree with them. Shall we go to war to correct them?

(Jesus) Nay, but go teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you (Matthew 28:20; 1 Timothy 6:1).

After reading this counsel from Jesus’ words does the Wisdom of God seem foolish to you? Think of it--you sought Jesus for "justice" and He gave you a cross. Jesus is the Wisdom of God. Does it seem unfair, unjust, unrighteous? He is the righteousness of God. There is a way that seems right to a man but it ends in death, and seeking justice “eye for eye & tooth for tooth” is "right" in that it comes out equal, but that is not the righteousness of Christ, nor the Wisdom of God. That provides no cure for evil, it only aggravates or at best, bridles the evil. The only cure for evil is overcoming evil with good, and instructing others on how to accomplish that by the foolishness of living and preaching the Gospel (the above counsel).

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160