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Thoughts from the Bible 03-01-17

The challenge of the cross

 

There are some who seem to be born to sacrifice themselves for the good of others. It’s difficult to accept that there are individuals who freely and selflessly choose a course that would mean their deaths for the good of mankind. Yet Jesus lived for this very purpose: to offer himself as a sacrifice in the place of others:

Romans 5:6- 8 (KJV) “⁶For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. ⁷For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. ⁸But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Matthew 20:28 (KJV) “²⁸Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Through the Apostle Paul’s pen the Holy Spirit revealed another underlying reason why Jesus was willing to die: “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” Heb. 2:14.

Furthermore, he came to put away the guilt of sin that was destroying the race: Hebrews 9:26b (KJV) “²⁶. . . .but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

Jesus also came to set an example for us. He literally blazed a trail for us to follow. Hebrews 12:1- 3 (KJV) “. . . let us run with patience the race that is set before us, ²Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. ³For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

1 Peter 2:21 - 23 (KJV) “²¹For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

This example calls for our willingness to be cross bearers as well. Matthew 16:24 (KJV) “²⁴Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

As the cross was a challenge to Jesus, it is also a challenge for His disciples. We are challenged by the cross to return love for the hate of others. Jesus taught in the Sermon On The Mount, Matthew 5:44 “⁴⁴But I say unto you, 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;

The cross is always before us as a challenge to our lives, to be just like Christ. As it was the culmination of Jesus’ life, even so living loyal to the cross must be the culmination of ours as well. “Can He depend on you?”

 


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