This is a simple thought. Most of you who are reading it will accept what I’m about to say simply as a statement and think, “No big deal, we all knew that.”
But slow down and think about that statement. Jesus willingly chose the cross. Sure, He was betrayed. Sure He was falsely accused and drug there by the Romans.
But the real question is this: Could He have stopped it? In the Garden, though he wrestles with God the Father over going to the cross, He says this: “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine,” (Matthew 26:39). He could have said “No,” but He didn’t.
And later, after wrestling the issue out in prayer with the Father, when He’s captured by the Romans, the disciples attempt to defend Him. But what does He say? “ Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?” (Matthew 26:53).
But He doesn’t. Why?
I believe Jesus went to the cross.
I know He was taken to the cross.
I knew He was crucified.
But I believe at any point along the way He could have put on the breaks. He could have chosen His own will. He could have called on the legion of angels. Instead, He chose to follow through with what He knew would happen. He would die.
Jesus went to the cross because He loved you. The broken, often sinful, very undeserving version of you that you hide from others. He looked on you with love and knew that the only solution to your broken state was through the cross.
So He went to the cross.
This tells us something about the nature of God. He pays debts He doesn’t owe. He wrestles down demons for people are too weak to do it themselves. God sacrifices for those He loves. He takes on our pain because we couldn’t bear it. He went to the cross for us.
Hebrews 12:2– “Jesus…because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame.”
Jesus said that if we wanted to follow him we would have to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him (Mark 8:34). But often we are content to settle for uncrucified Christianity–a kind of Christianity that requires little and caters to us.
Uncrucified Christianity is the source of a lot of pain and frustration in the body. It causes us to see everything that God is doing through the lens of how it benefits us. It paralyzes us in our spiritual growth. It makes us ingrown and not outward focused.
You see uncrucified Christianity all around you.
People who get excited about the prophetic promise of a spectacular ministry but never want to serve.
People who want community but never want to share someone else’s burden.
People who love Jesus but never share the gospel.
People who love Jesus but can’t be bothered to be part of a community of people who challenge them in love.
In short, uncrucified Christianity is a hot mess.
There is an answer, but it’s not fun. We all have to go back to Jesus and acknowledge that Christianity is not about us. Once we received the Kingdom of God, this became about Jesus and the Good News.
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”
Most of Christianity is trying to find their life. But every attempt, no matter how noble looking on the outside, that is not us denying ourselves, picking up our cross, and following Jesus will inevitably end up with us losing whatever sense of fulfillment we are looking for. Even if we are seeking for it in spiritual environments.
But friends, if we give our lives away for the sake of Jesus and spreading the gospel, we will find more life than we know what to do with. And it will transform everything we do from a selfish expression looking to boost ourselves into a spiritual expression backed by power from heaven.
That means we need to go back to the cross. Lay our pursuits there at its feet. And wait for God to tell us what to do next.
God, save us from uncrucified Christianity.
Every week here at Pursuing Glory I try to bring together the best posts I’ve found that will equip the end-times church to operate in her God-ordained destiny. These are the best blogs, articles, books and other resources related to our purpose here at this site. Feel free to visit, comment, and make use of the resources found at each site.
Last week I talked about some of the other media out there that I’ve been thinking about including. I had some good response on some of the content that I added, so I will continue to add more as it becomes available. I also thought it would be a great idea to let you (the reader) suggest other material of similar content out there for us here at the blog to use. If you have suggestions, leave them in the comment section. And now to this week’s links:
How does the reality of Jesus’s death on the cross and His call to us to die to ourselves affect our idea of God’s mission on the planet? Kieth @ Subversive1 reposts this transcription of a fantastic message by Jackie.
Vision, Intention, and Means is the topic of this post on how human beings change. While spiritual growth is always a work of the Spirit, it’s amazing how many Christians ignore the human fundamentals of change that allow them to cultivate the working of the Spirit. Len takes snippets from a Dallas Willard article to look at the process.
Barney’s “commandments” are methods of human change applied to the subject of evangelism. If you really haven’t thought about what practical changes you need to make in becoming someone who reaches lost people, check out this post.
The five-fold ministry is designed by Jesus to reproduce an aspect of Jesus into His body. Felicity is right on in this article. Many of us cling to only one or two of these giftings which greatly hinders our transformation into a Kingdom people.
This is an audio recording from 2005 where Shawn Bolz discusses the nature of heavenly encounters and their worth in transforming the body of Christ. If you’ve never had a lot of exposure to prophetic encounters, this will be a wild ride for you.