Yesterday I was reading in Matthew 16: 24-27. It's a familiar passage. One that has had a few markings, a few highlights, and one that is red lettered. I have been pondering the days leading up to Easter. Having heard many messages teaching on Jesus' last days I am stuck in my human brain, unable to comprehend what it must have been like for Jesus to walk that road carrying a cross. I have watched movies, some kind of corny with the feeble timid looking Jesus.
I prayed that I could try to understand for a moment what that must have been like. I was in a church service many years ago. It was a special baptismal service for grade school kids. Each child wrote out a statement of faith, and then they were baptized. It touched my heart to hear each child read the process and thoughts of salvation in their lives. They were all 8-12 year old boys and girls. There was one girl in particular. Her words brought about 500 people to tears. Her simple words pierced my heart. Here is what she said.
"When I learned about Jesus is that I could not understand why He would love me. When I learned that He had to carry a cross and then died on that cross I realized that He was a very brave man. I knew that He must truly love me".
I wrote those exact words on a scratch paper and then later transferred into my journal. A little ten year old could grasp and get it. Yes, Jesus was a very brave man.
So how does this passage of scripture penetrate my spirit today, yesterday and now something to grab hold of. Here is something I never realized before.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up "his" cross and follow me".
"His" cross, is in lowercase. Jesus is speaking. He did not say take up "my" cross. If He is speaking and he meant to help Him carry that burden, then it would have said take up "my" cross, but it said in the red letters to take up "his" cross. How come I have never taken notice of that before. I thought we were to take up His cross. Jesus did that for us over 2 million years ago. He did it on His own, walked the street with thorns on His head. He did not ask for help. He was a very brave man.
Jesus is now saying something like this.....my version of modern day theology. (I hope that is okay here) Hey guys, you have a lot going on, you possess so much, you have compromised so much of your souls away from Me, away from my calling for your life. If you want to save yourselves, you are going to lose it, but whoever loses his life for MY sake will save it. So Elizabeth, take up your cross and lose yourself unto me. (paraphrasing vs. 25)
So I am sharing this year my own Easter blessing and the truth in the red lettered part of my Bible that has unfolded. It's not so much the rolling of the stone part, but it is a part that God placed on my heart for a reason. What do I need to lay down at the cross, what do I need to place on the cross and carry or am I too feeble to even give it up and carry it. Carry a cross is not for the feeble minded, and since God made us He did not give us that feebleness we kind of choose that....whining, kicking,,, no God not that. My prayer this Easter season is that I take note of the cross and ask God to "break my heart for what breaks Yours" (taken from one of my favorite worship songs called Hosanna)