His cross in mind
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
on him, on him.
He was beaten, he was tortured,
but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
and like a sheep being sheared,
he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
or said one word that wasn’t true.
Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.
Isaiah 53:2b-10, The Message
Just as there were many who were appalled at him— his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness—
Isaiah 52:14, NIV
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:5-8, NKJV
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
Matthew 27:27-31, NKJV
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11, NKJV
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Matthew 27:50-54, NKJV
I trust that you are now properly inundated with Scripture! (Thanks for hanging in there with me!)
As I began thinking about this topic, more and more verses flooded my mind. “He was wounded for our transgressions”, “His visage was so marred more than any man”, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter”, “He opened not his mouth”….
“…obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
“for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, …” (Hebrews 12:2)
“Let this mind be in you, that was also in Christ Jesus…”
“Let this mind be in you” means, “Put this mind in you”, or “Force this mind to be in you”. Make it happen! Whatever you do, you must have the mind of Christ! Why?
Jesus commands us in Matthew 16:24 to take up our cross and follow Him.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 16:24-25, NET
What is your cross? Rev. Eli Hernandez preached an incredible message a few years ago on this topic. He told us that the cross that Jesus wants us to carry is not a heavy burden, but a passion and a calling! Jesus did not call us to a heavy, burdensome life. We are not meant to stagger underneath the weight of our “cross”. When a “cross” begins to get heavy, we have turned it into a burden. Jesus calls us to lay down our burdens at His feet! To cast our cares on Him! To trade in our heavy burdens for His burden, which is light, and His yoke, which is easy (Matthew 11:28-30)! So your cross will not be and should not be a burdensome thing, but something that drives you forward.
It is unpopular to follow Jesus. In order to be motivated to face the discomfort of following Jesus in a fallen world, you must have a purpose and a passion that is driving you. You must have a cross!
Jesus didn’t come into the world proclaiming His authority and setting up an earthly kingdom. He didn’t live a life of glory and power. He came for a specific purpose, and He knew what that was. Jesus was motivated by His divine purpose, and He faced death on a cross “for the joy that was set before Him”. His purpose motivated and inspired Him. He picked up His cross and endured the shame of a literal crucifixion, because of the clarity of His purpose! What motivates you? What wakes you up in the morning? (No, not your alarm clock!)”. That is the cross that Jesus is asking you to pick up. It is what will empower and motivate you to lean into the pain and discomfort that you have been sidestepping. (Only you know what that pain is. Is it loving an unloving spouse? Respecting a boss that doesn’t seem to value you? Humbling yourself to serve in a thankless job or ministry? Speaking in public?)
What is your purpose? What is your cross?
In order to fulfill our GOD Dream..we must open our hearts to the probability of being hurt. We must face the fear of the unknown. What’s the worst that can happen? Well, we may be crucified because of our beliefs…but I don’t see an actual cross in the near future. When Jesus told us to take up our cross, He wasn’t speaking literally.
Right now, I ask you to think on the pain that Jesus suffered for you. Weep for Him. Lean into the pain of the cross right now. Picture His bloodied, torn body, His face that was marred beyond recognition, the nails that were driven into His hands and His feet, and that spear that pierced His side. Meditate on the weight of our sins on His shoulders. The humiliation of the soldiers stripping Him and putting a purple robe on Him. Crowning Him with thorns.
He went through all of that because He had a purpose. His heartbeat and His mission was saving your soul that hung in the balance between death and life.
What is your purpose? What is your heartbeat? What will drive you forward on days full of pain and discomfort? What is the “joy that is set before you”?
Find it…take up your cross…and run with it!
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5437614015/”>Gerardofegan</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>