“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.”
– Matthew 16:24
Last Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday. The Triumphal Entry. Last Sunday we would have shared a Communion Service together. And you would have certainly heard the words:
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
This coming Sunday is Easter Sunday. We will celebrate “The Resurrection of Jesus”. I have been a pastor for 46 years. This is the first time I won’t be physically present with my congregation for Easter and communion. What a blessing the internet is. Jeannie and I both look forward to this Sunday’s service!
Jesus set the bar or the standard of the Father’s Love for us by going to the cross to pay for our sins so we can be reunited with our Heavenly Father. Jesus tells us the standard set for our love for Him is also the cross.
God longs for us to Know, to Love and to Serve Him. Our example to follow is Jesus. We are all to embrace the cross in all areas of our lives.
To accomplish this “we must live in the shadow of the cross – a place we must learn to live” (Bill Crowder, ‘For This He Came’). We must live close enough where my sin is noticed. Glaring, so as to ask immediately for forgiveness. To live in the shadow of the cross is to stay close to my Heavenly Father through Jesus my Savior. Distancing yourself from the cross is a dangerous place for believers to be.
Take for instance, the disciples on their way to the cross – their thoughts were on themselves, not on Christ. Luke 22:24 reads, “And there arose also a dispute among them as to which of them was regarded to be the greatest.” They were about to witness and play a part in the greatest event the world had ever known. Because of their lack of sensitivity to God’s presence, they were all going to stumble and be offended. As the song says:
“Jesus keep me near the cross…”
I don’t want to be like the disciples. I want to be aware of God… aware of my sin… aware of His blessings… aware of His comfort… the list can go on and on. The further I am away from the cross, the less I am aware of Him.