A couple of days ago I read a familiar Bible verse and it struck me in a way it never has before. God likes to shake me up like that sometimes. I was doing my read the Bible through in a year plan. (Which I do faithfully for a few days, forget a day or three, and then play catch-up for a couple of days!) I was reading Luke 14, and when I read verse 27 I began thinking about what Jesus' followers' reaction must have been. "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." ~Luke 14:27
We see this verse from the other side of the Cross than they did. When we hear about the Cross, we immediately think of Jesus. How He died for our sins. How we are to imitate Him. But Jesus' followers didn't know any of this. To them the cross was a painful, humiliating, shameful way for criminals to die. I'm sure NO ONE wanted to have anything to do with a cross! In researching this verse I read what The Bible Knowledge Commentary had to say: "When the Roman Empire crucified a criminal or captive, the victim was often forced to carry his cross part of the way to the crucifixion site. Carrying his cross through the heart of the city was supposed to be a tacit admission that the Roman Empire was correct in the sentence of death imposed on him, an admission that the Rome was right and he was wrong."
That is what Jesus calls us to do. To admit to ourselves and to others that Jesus is right and our flesh is wrong! To risk pain and humiliation and discomfort to follow Him! And according to Luke 9:23 we are to take up our cross daily. Daily because our flesh will reassert itself daily and needs denying daily!
So while we see in the Cross the beauty of God's redemptive plan, Jesus' disciples saw only ugliness, pain, humiliation, and shame. Yet Jesus called them to that. He calls us to that . To go somewhere that seems ugly, painful, humiliating, and (in the eyes of the world and the eyes of our flesh) shameful! I know I can only do this if I am relying on His power! In my own strength I will always choose the safe, the easy, the popular. May I choose His power to walk His way!
Father, fill me with Your power to choose Your way. Even when it is painful. Even when it is embarrassing to my flesh. Even when I can't see Your plan.
By the way it is rather difficult to write some cool God-stuff with the Veggie Tales Boyz in the Sink CD playing in the background! It's so funny I get distracted!