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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Flying with Thursday's Word-Easter message revisited by Brenda Smith

When Jesus carried His cross up Golgotha to be crucified, no one was thinking of the cross as symbolic of a burden to carry. To a person in the first-century, the cross meant one thing and one thing only: death by the most painful and humiliating means human beings could develop.

Two thousand years later, Christians view the cross as a cherished symbol of atonement, forgiveness, grace, and love. But in Jesus’ day, the cross represented nothing but torturous death. Because the Romans forced convicted criminals to carry their own crosses to the place of crucifixion, bearing a cross meant carrying their own execution device while facing ridicule along the way to death.

Therefore, “Take up your cross and follow Me” means being willing to die in order to follow Jesus. This is called “dying to self.” It’s a call to absolute surrender. After each time Jesus commanded cross bearing, He said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”(Luke 9:24-25). Although the call is tough, the reward is matchless.
Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone and All the World Go Free?  Whatever your cross, pick it up daily. I am willing to reason with you that although your cross can be heavy; it will not be as heavy, compared to what another person is carrying. You do not judge the cross you carry by what another person is struggling with. You cannot carry the cross your friends are carrying because God did not equip you to carry that cross. Pick up your cross.  The beauty of this whole thing is that Jesus bore his cross alone. But, he is willing to help us bear our crosses. Each of us has a cross to carry.  We must all identify our crosses and carry them with patience, joy and love.  Why should we complain about something that will be the means by which we will gain eternal life?

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