There is nothing that is more transformational than coming to the realization that your life was more important than that of Jesus. And that no greater love exist than to give yours for another as stated, “No greater love” - Jn. 15:13. For when God saw the future of man, He immediately knew His Word; His only begotten Son must be sacrificed for you. I remember as a child when this Revelation dawned on me, it became a rallying point and banner of my daily walk as a Christian; which by no means has been perfect or for that matter steady. But this I know; Jesus died for me and so must I for Him; for as stated, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” - Phil. 1:21.
I have a secret that very few know. Not even my parents were aware of my most intimate and precious moment when I and, I am sure many have pledged the body, mind, and spirit to the Lordship of Christ. That in that twilight of time something changed in your persona and the vision of your life changed. No longer one of self but one of Christ. This moment remains with me as an epitome of my special relationship with the Father and ultimately, Christ. Often this memory flashes through my mind and spirit as if God is reminding me of how precious and special it was. All that Revelation feeling rolled into an instance. Yet, as I mature, the one thing that this memory does, is to place before not only My Lord and My God but especially, my Cross.
Jun. 21, 2017.
My Lord, My God, my Cross.
How many of us have made our words come back and bite us in you know what, because of being unsteady and unsure in our walk with Christ, often deviating from His path to admire and possess the world’s distractions. For as stated by Christ, our Lord, and Savior, “to follow me; you must take up your cross” - Matt. 16:24. And in another statement, “he who leaves the family for My sake will inherit eternal life” - Matt. 19:29. When Jesus entered into the coliseum of His ministry; His first vision to His apostle as said, was, “follow me and I will make you a fisher of men” - Mk. 1:17. This vision is in His last Words to His Faithful remaining followers before ascending into Heaven, saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” - Matt. 28:19. Jesus never forgot His Cross to bear and so mustn’t we.
In the last few years and today of my walk and knowing the time of this age I have tried to maintain a mantra of, “The Cross before me and the world behind” as a constant reminder of what my Salvation should be about but also to put into perspective and align my life to Christ and His direction for my future. And to be honest, I am being selfish for myself and my family’s Salvation. To never surrender, what has been sacrificed by the Blood of Jesus. Now, when I say, family; this does not only refer to my immediate relationships but also to the Body of Christ, for by this Body are we all family in the Kingdom of God; bonded to each other with the Blood of Jesus and not having the law of traditions, culture and rituals separating us. Christ is our center!
You see, in many ways, I am a pragmatic person which is a cross that I bear because it can be so cold in logic that it leaves behind the heart of God, which is agape love. But don’t get me wrong, it also keeps me safe within my Christian walk. Because as one matures in the Kingdom; issues are not really shades of gray but plainly black and white. For as God stated, “that all should be saved and know Him” - 1 Tim. 2:4. Yet, He gives us free choice to choose, knowing the consequences of our choices. For me, this is what my mind sees. That once given the Truth of this world; you still turn your back on your Salvation, then you also ought to accept the consequences of your choice, You want to go to hell; the go right ahead. I have enough respect for your personal choice.
We too have said these words in some shape or form, as we journey through this life; being alien to it and is part of what makes our Faith realistic. To know that we too were on top of that Mount. Not jeering, but with empathy, compassion, and sadness, recognizing it is our "pebbles" rippling across the straits of time that has brought us here and looking at this man who came as the Messiah with the knowledge and Spirit; that this also had to be fulfilled just like Jesus’ baptism. So that the transformation into the Body of Christ would be completed. And as the Body of the Church, the bride of Christ. We have to sooner or later acknowledge the unity of God; the Father; Jesus, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. That by their work have we come to be partakers of the Glory of God. Saved for Glory and not for ornamentation for we also are marked by that Cross but not in shame and pain but with the promises that God wielded in Jesus' life affecting those around Him for their Salvation; perpetuating the Glory of God and His Kingdom that is to come; all in the Revelation and riches of Christ; My Lord, My God, my Cross.
Flush it Out! - Christ in me, the Hope of Glory.
Jesus, My Lord; with His first three sayings is the leader of the church with a servant's heart for her welfare. A “lord” is someone who is highlighted by their works of provision, protection, and providence. Jesus declares this as His first act of love.
a) Jesus reinforces the sacrifice by His substitution by saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” - Lk. 23:34.
b) Jesus demonstrates His commitment to save by saying, “Truly, you will be with Me in paradise - Lk. 23:43.
c) Jesus regardless of affliction does not compromise His care by saying, “Woman, behold your son, son, behold your mother” - Jn. 19:26.
Jesus, My God; with His next two sayings is the priest of the church in needing God’s Grace. Of facilitating a relationship between the fallen man and the Father. A true “god” is an entity that is not only creative, supreme but also compassionate, seeking not only to initiate purpose but more importantly to empower the purpose on an intimate level. Jesus not only shows us how but why we need God’s relationship to be personal and private.
d) Jesus looks to God in His time of trial and tribulation, especially when faced with eminent death and fear by saying, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me” - Mk. 15:34.
e) Jesus seeks to appease to God for strength, and fulfillment not physically as the world thinks; but Spiritual, by saying, “I thirst” - Jn. 19:28.
Jesus, my Cross; with His last two sayings affirms who and whom He is; and knowingly come to the point of love and by Revelation to be a follower of God, by dying not only in the body but also in the mind and spirit; as stated, “He gave up the ghost” - Matt. 27:50. A “cross” is a mark to signify presence, ownership, and authority. The world as with the Romans used it for fear but with Jesus, it is used for love. Love that is expressed in His trust, obedience, and Faith in His Father.
f) Jesus resigns Himself to God’s will. That there is nothing more to do and acknowledges God is of the past, present, and future by saying, “It is finished” - Jn. 19:30.
g) Jesus puts all Hope, Faith, and Love into God’s sovereignty and vision by saying, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit” - Lk. 23:46.
God also accepts this where He only show disdain for those who can’t choose life or death - Rev. 3:16. Now, don’t think I am that cold hearted for in the same breathe I agree and believe that even an evil man on his death bed with his last breath can confess Jesus as Lord and Savior and in that instance, as satan reaches to grab him; he is saved and secured in Christ. How many different stories have we heard of an unrepentant person just before dying had a horrifying expression of fear on their face or of someone dying with a smile and peaceful disposition.
When Christ was on the Cross he was in agony because of the physical pain inflicted but with His last breath and Words; He was at peace declaring, “Father, into your hands, I commend My spirit” - Lk. 23:46. For as He gave up the spirit, He probably saw the vision of Heaven. The Bible tells us, He was in the grave; in hell for three periods or cycles. This definition is used because most scholars still debate the “three days and three nights” text used in the Bible. But if we look at the pattern of God’s sovereignty; He is not as concerned with man’s use of time but that the number is used for a significance of the event of history. For if God is the “Great I Am”; then His will can be and is immediate, and because this world and the universe was created with natural laws of operation (for God is not a laborer); which is affected by the Spirit, then periods and cycles is the manifestation or symbol of these laws and is why certain numbers repeat through the Bible to the point that when Peter denied Jesus three times (Lk. 22:54-62); he had to confess his love for Jesus three times also (Jn. 21:15-17). As a pragmatic, this may be obvious for it aligns with the law of sowing and reaping. Consider, a pebble thrown into a body of water. The ripple effect is felt distances away from its origin as it radiates out. But if another pebble is thrown in, even if not at the same time. Its ripples will cancel out or disrupt the first set of ripples. Taking this same metaphor we can apply it to our life, essentially our cross. Unfortunately, some ripples have already impacted other shores. God sent Jesus to cancel out and disrupt what our forefather did.
When Jesus began to take up His Cross at age twelve for His future; He already knew His end. For He would have read the prophets like Isaiah stating, “And the government will be on His shoulders” - Is. 9:6. Now, isn’t it interesting that this verse is located in the Bible as a multiple of the number three, just as Jesus’ age in the temple - Lk. 2:41. And that on His Cross there are six points or marks, namely the crown of thorns, the three nails or points of nailing, the sign and the piercing of His side. All multiples of three, which happens to be the number of perfection. That Jesus was prepared to be the perfect sacrifice for the world represented by the Cross. And He gave His body, mind, and spirit for it and us. This is why the cross holds so much reverence and honor for it is a symbol of the greater love of the Son of God and of man, who by unfettered obedience took up His Cross daily to achieve all that God intended.
Jesus’ Cross is a starting point for Salvation and not its final destination. This is just as when the Exodus Jews reached the Promised Land and started establishing their foundation for a Spiritual relationship with God. This is where and when the Covenant was established and put into practice. Yes, they had a relationship before the Exodus and during their four hundred years of slavery. But did you notice that generation died in the desert due to disobedience and faithlessness. And then it was the new generation that inherited the promise. The old died so that the new would live and that this new generation represented a new birth or rather a first birth into the promise and land declared by God. The Cross of Jesus is that declaration for all mankind.
Now, at the chance, it may sound as a contradiction. The Cross of Jesus should be absorbed. This requires spending time on the Mount of Golgotha or Place of Skulls. To understand and appreciate why Jesus is; My Lord, My God, and my Cross. To know why we ought to die for Him. The first thing to know and accept is that Jesus’ crucifixion was not unusual in that day. In the eyes of Rome, the world; Jesus was no different than the many criminals who committed subversion against its rule. The crucifixion was to be a deterrent for all those who would dare challenge the status quo and there was no difference up to the point when Jesus was placed on the cross, for it was not unusual as part of the punishment and torment for criminals to be subjected to harsh punishment including scourging, beatings and carrying of their own cross. The goal was to drive fear into the people for submission. When Jesus’ Cross was placed in position, His life; works, and ministry became one of reverence or scolding for all who became His witnesses to it.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was not only for mankind's Salvation but was also for a cause. The cause of freedom. That no one should be subjugated against their will of choice. The Romans ruled by fear with this notion that they were superior and entitled above all and when the pain of death was not sufficient they employed torment by excruciating means like the crucifixion method. As Lord of the Christian; Jesus demonstrated that under His authority He gave life for all under the tyranny and fear from the world. He bore the brunt of tyranny and fear, which the Romans embodied for satan, the father of all forms of fear and threats. This is why Jesus deserves the undying Faithfulness of His followers, who by example is led into the fray to confront the world. We see the heart of Jesus, My Lord with His Words on the Cross.
Now, we are His disciples, to be in the world but not of it. To take up our individual cross and to complete all that God has put in place for our partaking of His Kingdom works. For having been marked with the Blood of the Lamb as were the Jew’s homes to protect their first born from the angel of death; so are we with the Blood of Jesus and having been renewed to a new birth; a first born in Christ, protected in our bodily temple; as in previous times, saved by Grace for God’s will. To be an extension of His Kingdom here on Earth; and of My Lord, My God, and my Cross.
Every born again person in the Body of Christ has a sole purpose; to be Christ in this world. This is what Jesus is referring to when He says “to take up your cross”. Not to bear your troubles as in a heavy load as religious circles tell you. The Body of Christ need to and must complete their Passover. For there ought to be no return ticket, less you become a pillar of salt unused and missing the rewards of God’s Salvation - Gen. 19:26. We ought to be on the band wagon of Christ, going somewhere to see and experience the Spirit of Christ in action and in manifestations.
Recently, I went to another city to aid with a church that does an annual outreach with the lure of free food and certain ministries. Nothing wrong with that for at least they were outside of their church in plain public view. I was amazed of how people stood in line for at least three hours, in the hot and bright sun on a hot day, just for a single hot dog and a hot soda. A basically, innutritious and unsatisfying meal. This is why “the Cross before me and the world behind” has to be as sharp as a two-edged sword is; to rightly divide asunder the fog of this world. Yet, as I watched I could sense the Spirit of compassion for those lost to their flesh stating, “These are God’s people and ask, “Could not be more done”, in regard to their Salvation? For as soon they were satisfied in the flesh, they disappeared. Now, to be clear, I can’t speak to the success of such church outreaches but only examine what I would do differently to orchestrate a preferred outcome. At any rate, I admire and look to learn from such outreaches.
ChristnMe @ 2013