Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living ©
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34 (NIV))
Easter is rapidly approaching. The day that we praise for it is the yearly celebration of the resurrection of the crucified Jesus. It is something to celebrate. It is the culmination of all of the promises, for without the resurrection, the cross means nothing. Without the empty tomb, we are all guilty sinners without any hope.
Have you ever thought about why Jesus said that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him?
The world thinks that following Jesus is a joke. They look upon those who proclaim a faith in Jesus as less than intellectual, as someone stuck in childlike fantasy. Following Jesus is not always the easy thing to do. We have influences from all realms of society that mock us and try to get us to do things that we know are not right. We are to stick to the path laid out before us as believers. We are to not only accept the grace and mercy but show this same grace and mercy to others.
Think about Jesus on the cross. Was it socially acceptable to do what He did? Was it politically correct to preach and teach as He did? Was is in His best interests as a human to be seen with tax collectors, adulterers and sinners of all types?
Jesus denied Himself in ways that we can only imagine. He said and did things that He knew would anger the Sanhedrin. He kept the company of those who were social outcasts. He did all of this without any regard for His well-being. He even went to the cross without any resistance.
This was the ultimate act of denying yourself. He placed others first.
We are to do the same. We are to seek the lost and offer them a path to grace. We are to see the hungry and feed them. We are to feel the pain of a lost world and pray. We are called to do things beyond ourselves.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))
Think of the love that Jesus showed for all of creation.