“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24).
On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He broke bread and had fellowship with His disciples who would later betray or desert Him. Before being stabbed in His side with a spear on the cross, He was stabbed in the back by a trusted friend. Before He was kissed by death, He was kissed by Judas, the disciple who betrayed Him. Before He was scorned on the cross, He was scorned by the teachers of the law. Before He was denied by the people, He was denied by His disciple, Peter. Before He was forsaken by men, He was forsaken by His trusted friends. The cross was His journey to the fulfillment of His purpose.
The road is not always easy. It is sometimes filled with setbacks, mistakes along the way, betrayal and even treachery. But through it all God’s encouragement to us is:
1) Deny yourself. The journey will sometimes demand sacrifice; putting others first; and stepping back to eventually go forward.
2) Take up your cross. This suggests that we must endure temporary pain for long term gain.
3) Follow Jesus. Learn from Jesus how he endured the cross with His eyes on the prize. “Looking 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:1-2).
Jesus endured His cross for you so that with His strength you can go through your journey of good, bad, trials, and triumphs with confidence in His saving grace.
My journey is not always easy but my determined outcome of Victory makes me secure.
Read the Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 20,21; James 5.