Mark 8:34 And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me].
We started talking about the cross last week, and how it ultimately represents our purpose. We are going to explore that a little more, but first I want to look at some other things the cross stands for. One of the first things I think of when I think of “The Cross” is that old hymn The Old Rugged Cross. The words say this-
On a hill far away
Stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame……..
There’s more to it, but let’s stop right there. The cross is a representation of suffering. Now let’s be serious, no matter how much suffering we may endure I highly doubt it would equal even a portion of what Jesus went through. You may beg to differ, but unless you have been beaten to a bloody pulp, had a crown of thorns shoved onto your head, were forced to carry a monstrous cross for miles up a hill, and then nailed up by your hands and feet and left to die all by the very group of people you came to save, it’s truth. Please understand I am not belittling the amount of pain anyone has endured, just showing that compared to Jesus, the anguish we may go through is relative.
Isaiah 53:4-5 4Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. 5But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. This passage basically says we consider the things Jesus went through as an affliction from God, but in reality the reason he endured what He did was for us. He bore our sickness, so we could be healed. He carried our weakness so we could be strong. He become poor so we could live in abundance. He became sin, so we could become blameless, holy and righteous in His Father’s sight. He felt our anxiety, worry and fear so we could walk in perfect peace. Every bit of suffering He went through, was so that on the other side we would benefit.
There may be times in our lives when we face misery, pain and suffering, but we can look to Jesus’ example and use the things we go through to benefit others. If you’ve faced times of loneliness or rejection, you can bring love to those who are lonely or dejected. If you have suffered from inferiority and feelings of worthlessness, you can impart life and hope into those who feel that same way. If you have been used or mistreated, there are people who have never felt anything else that you can pour yourself into. I challenge you to ask yourself in the midst of the suffering, “How can I use this to help someone else?”
I rarely do this, but I also feel compelled to tell you today, No matter what you have gone through, or are currently going through, Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He laid down His life for you. If you are suffering right now, He took that suffering upon Himself so you don’t have to feel that pain. You don’t have to be good enough, or act great enough, or love him enough. He loves you just as you are, and longs to call you His own. If you ask Him, He will fill your heart in this moment. If that’s you, I’d like to pray with you. Send me a message and I’ll contact you.