Posts Tagged ‘ Cross ’

Cross or Crowd?

…he said to him, “Follow me,” And he got up and followed him. Mark 2:14 NRSV

When Jesus called, his disciples turned and followed him. As Christians we have identified ourselves as Jesus’ followers too. But claiming to follow Jesus and actually following Jesus are sometimes two very different things.

MP900384793[1] Today’s video points out the stark contrast between what following the crowd means and what following the path Jesus laid out for us in going to the cross means.

Click here for this thought-provoking look at the crowd and then cross. Then go Jesus’ way!

Following Jesus?

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24 NRSV

What if there was Twitter when Jesus walked among us? Would you be following his Twitter feed? IgniterMedia has produced an ingenious video that covers Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as if recorded on Twitter. It gives a fresh perspective on not just what Jesus said and did, but on what others were saying about him.

This week many of us are remembering what Jesus did for us. We know he suffered a humiliating death among criminals to secure our redemption.The question is, what do we say about Jesus. Are we taking up our cross and following him?

That’s the question asked in today’s video. To view it, please click here. Then be a follower!

The Cross

But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NRSV

MC900391378 This week we are going to hear a lot about Jesus on the cross. Sermons will be preached on it. Songs will be sung about it.

But why? What is the cross to you and me? That question is asked by today’s video.

The surprising thing is that even though there are many different answers, there is only one truth. The truth is that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He died on the cross.

That’s where the story of our redemption got written. That’s where our forgiveness was purchased. That’s where our Savior suffered and died.

To view the video that probes what the cross means to us, please click here.

The Best Of All Loves

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the World so that we might live through him. 1John 4:9 NRSV

Neon heart I don’t know whether Shakespeare was a religious man or not, but he knew a thing or two about love. Shakespeare is said to have reasoned, “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”1

Loving someone who wants your love is good. Better is loving someone who is not looking for love, who is not pursuing love, or who shows no interest in accepting your love. That’s hard. That’s real love!

That’s also the kind of love Jesus came to give. Toward the end of his earthly ministry the people he came to heal, help and save turned on him. They flat out rejected him as Messiah. They turned him over to the authorities with trumped up charges, in hopes they could do away with him. He was a Savior, but almost no one wanted his help.

But God’s love doesn’t depend on being loved. God’s love is the kind of love that’s given in spite of rejection, in spite of abandonment, in spite of hate, and in spite of our waywardness and sin.

Faith Reflecting on Shakespeare’s reasoning, Ravi Zacharias asks, “How do you know that God loves you? While you and I were yet lost and wandering, Christ was wandering after us, by way of the Cross. And this sacrifice stands as the greatest marker in all time.”1

He’s right. The proof of God’s love is this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and gave himself for us. He didn’t do it when we asked for his help. He didn’t do it after we started seeking forgiveness for our sins. He did it at the very moment humankind turned its back on him.

That’s not just love, it’s God’s love!  It’s the kind of love that forgives sin, redeems lives, heals brokenness and gives us a brand new start!

I agree with Shakespeare. And I’m forever thankful that Jesus came and loved me like that. His love has forever changed my life, and continues to do so. That’s what makes Jesus’ love the best of all loves!

1 Ravi Zacharias, A Slice of Infinity, blog post 3/3/2011

Broken Becomes Beautiful

But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” Acts 3:6 NRSV

MP900341649[1] A man’s body was broken from birth. He was seen as little more than a lame beggar, one of the many broken people who sat at the temple gate looking for alms. For most of his life his brokenness got him peoples’ pity and their money.

Then one day Peter and John came along. They were fresh from being filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit opened their eyes to see that brokenness is more than an opportunity for pity. It is an opportunity for Jesus’ love to make something beautiful. So Peter took him by the hand and did something no one else dared to do. He shared the healing power of Jesus Christ and lifted the man to his feet. In that moment a broken life became a beautiful witness to the healing power of Jesus’ love.Faith

That’s what Jesus came to do. That’s what the cross is all about. The redeeming work of our Lord and Savior takes our brokenness and makes us into new creatures in Christ!

I think we turn away from brokenness too often. Or we stop to pass on our pity, while forgetting to try and transform that brokenness into something beautiful.

Today’s video shares the story of a young woman who uses the artistic talents God has given her to turn pictures of human brokenness into portraits of hope and love. Click here to hear her speak about her work. Then take a minute and ask God how you can use what He has given you to touch brokenness with the beauty of Christ’s love!

Love Turns To God

For the Advent/Christmas season, each Monday’s post will look at the love that came down at Christmas. We will explore what Jesus’ love offers us and asks of us.

At three o’clock Jesus cried out….”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34 NRSVMC900194002

Rejected and abandoned by his own people, Jesus hangs on the cross dying. Darkness covers the land. Life slowly drains out of Jesus’ body. Finally, in his agony Jesus cries out to his heavenly Father. With his last few breaths he turns his attention to God and asks “Why?’

That’s real love at work! Real love turns to God. Even when despair sets in and death’s darkness engulfs us, the same love that was at work in Jesus will help us turn to God too.

Real love turns to God.

Most of us probably don’t think much about the cross as we prepare for Christmas.MP900382968[1] Maybe that’s because we focus so much on celebrating God’s love  shown in sending us his only begotten Son. But after the all the celebrating dies down, what comes next?

If we want Jesus to be more to us than a figurine in a crèche, we must follow Jesus’ lead. We too must turn to God.

Turning to God means opening our hearts to God, pouring our pain out, laying our questions out, and clinging to our heavenly Father with our last breath. It means loving the One who first loved us!

Let the Messiah, the King of Israel and the Holy One of God touch you this Christmas with a love that will not let you go. Then, let that love keep you turned to God!

Love the One Who First Loved You!

Prayer:

Lord of unwavering love, your example on the cross reminds me that real love clings to God. Fill me with that love, and keep me ever turned to my heavenly Father!

Amen.

Turn copy

Cling

Cling

You don’t need to be perfect.

You don’t need a long list of good works.

You don’t even need a reference from a reputable source.

Jesus takes you as you are.

Cling to him today!