Jesus, Obedience, Uncategorized

Take Up Your Cross

christianity-1868365_1920

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Matthew 16:24 

 

The cross means freedom to me. Jesus paid my sin debt in full. It is finished. I am free. My home is in heaven, because of the cross. I have full access to God, because of the cross. I have hope, because of the cross. I am forgiven, because of the cross. Jesus’ perfect work on the cross brought the end to death, sin, and shame.

A Roman cross means one thing, death. When Jesus tells us to take up our cross we are to die to self. The NIV, NASB, HCB and several other translations say, “he must deny himself.” We must. That is not a suggestion. That implies it is required, shouldn’t be missed. I can ignore Jesus’ words and go my own way and never pick up my cross. Then it’s all about me. Jesus won’t let me stay there. Everything changed when Jesus became my Lord and Savior. He’s calling me to something different.

Jesus saving me was the easy part. I like the saved from Hell part. But what about the cost? There is a cost to following to Jesus. Do I let it cost me? Do I stay comfortable? Am I willing to lose family, friends, comfort, reputation, and security for the sake of following Jesus? What about my life?

25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25, NASB)

Taking up our cross does not mean:

I am poverty stricken, that’s my cross.

I am stuck in a dreadful job, that’s my cross.

I am in a bad marriage, that’s my cross.

Taking up our cross daily means death to our own selfish desires. Following Jesus no matter the cost to us. It’s about obedience and surrender to the King of Kings.

26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NASB)

Nothing in this life is worth keeping if it means losing your soul for all eternity. The cost is great on this side of heaven to follow Jesus. Are you willing to pay the price? Some are not. They aren’t convinced. The price is too high. Jesus paid our sin debt in full with his shed blood. He asks for us to surrender fully to Him, no matter the cost. But, there are rewards waiting in heaven.

27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” (Matthew 16:27, NIV)

What if you gained every single thing the world has to offer? Money, fame, houses, vacations, and any material object you could want. Yet when you die you go to Hell because you rejected Jesus. Our souls are at stake. Life is short. Eternity cannot be measured or even grasped. Let’s make our lives count.

We are to daily take up our cross. Every single day we are to die to self. We have a choice to make. For the Christian, to surrender fully to Jesus and follow Him. For the non-believer, it’s time to make a choice. Please don’t forfeit your soul for the temporary. You can choose Jesus today. He already chose you.

The cross was a humiliating, painful means to death. As Christ followers we must daily take up our cross and follow Jesus. The cost to us is everything. We give Jesus all of who we are and all that we have. I struggle with this. I want to get to full surrender. I have moments, but they are rare. I want my comfort. I want what I think is best. I don’t want to let go. Jesus is loving, and patient. He knows what I need and He knows what is best.

May we all take up our cross daily and follow Jesus.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Lord,

Thank you Jesus for saving us on the cross. Please help all of us who follow you to take up our crosses daily. It is not easy and we need your help to live surrendered lives. Equip us to do your will. We want to serve you and make a difference for your Kingdom. I lift up any non-believers reading this. You love them so much Lord. Draw them to you.

Amen

 

 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

 

 

Jesus, Salvation, Uncategorized

Torn

184B44B0-1F5C-4874-A221-B9AA472C840F

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27:51, NIV)

The temple curtain, or veil, was torn from top to bottom at the moment Jesus gave up his spirit (Matthew 27:50). Why is this significant? Let’s go back to Exodus and the Tabernacle. This was a place God’s spirit could dwell, and the Israelites could worship God.

“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” (Exodus 25: 8-9, NIV)

God gave specific instructions to Moses for the Tabernacle and the Most Holy Place.

31 “Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. 32 Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. 33 Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. 34 Put the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the Most Holy Place. 35 Place the table outside the curtain on the north side of the tabernacle and put the lamp stand opposite it on the south side.”(Exodus 26: 31-35, NIV).

This curtain was beautiful but strong; Separating the people from God’s presence. Only the High Priest was allowed behind the curtain, and only once a year (Exodus 30:10). The priest had to wash himself, wear special garments, burn incense, and bring sacrificial blood to atone for sins (Exodus 28-30). Aaron, the first high priest and Moses’ brother, was told not to come to the Most Holy Place whenever he chooses or he would die (Leviticus 16:1-2). Going into the Holy of Holies was not to be taken lightly and very few even entered the sacred space. God was protecting the people.

But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20, NIV).

The first temple was built by Solomon, and had forty-five foot high walls (1 Kings 6:20). Fast forward to Jesus’ time on earth. Herod refurbished the second temple making it taller. According to the historian Josephus, Herod’s temple veil was close to sixty feet high, and the temple curtain was at least an inch thick. Some claim the curtain was four inches thick.

At the moment Jesus took his last breath the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). God tore the massive, thick temple curtain. Not man. The separation between us and God was destroyed because of Jesus sacrifice on the cross. Jesus is the great high priest.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NIV).

We can come boldly to the throne of grace. No more curtain. We have the joy and privilege to approach God with confidence all because of precious Jesus. He empathizes with us since He lived for a while among us, yet He never sinned. He took on our sin and atoned for us. Jesus was the perfect, sacrificial lamb for the entire world.

“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2, NIV).

Love! Love! Love! Jesus died for us because of His great love for us. The most beautiful love story in all human history. The curtain is never going back up. We do not have to atone for our sins. Jesus did that on the cross. Thank you Jesus!

Do you know Jesus? He already knows you. He loves you. He paid your sin debt in full.

We praise you Jesus! There is none like you.

 

Love you all,

Meghan