Are You Clinging to the Cross?

“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.’” (Mark 10:21 NKJV)

There’s a story that Mark shares in chapter 10 about a man who came running up to Jesus, knelt before Him and asked: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” That’s a question a lot of people are asking today: “What must I do?” The question behind the question is essentially: “How can I earn or deserve my place in heaven?”

Today the question is framed a little differently, but it’s the same message: “How can I live in a way that will reward me with all the riches of this world, all the pleasures, all the advantages, all the excesses, and still give me my rightful place in heaven.” And the premise behind the question is: “Because I’m a good person and I deserve the best of everything!”

Let’s notice some things about the Biblical account (Mark 10:17-21) First, the young man knew who Jesus was. Second, the man who came to Jesus was Biblically literate – he knew the Commandments. Third, he was disciplined – he’d kept the Commandments, at least in his mind. Fourth, he was, from all outward appearances, a genuinely good human being. Fifth, Jesus loved Him. Sixth, he was very wealthy. Seventh, he ultimately decided to love his wealth more than Jesus. What’s my point?

He’s the average church-going American. A lot of folks today want Jesus, they just don’t want to change the way they’re living. In short, they don’t want to pick up their cross and follow Him. What does it mean to “take up the cross?” What did it mean for Jesus?

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It meant utter denial of all He wanted in favor of all God, His Heavenly Father, wanted. A few chapters later, in Mark 14:36 Jesus prayed: “’Abba, Father,’ He cried out, ‘everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me.’” What “cup of suffering?” His betrayal, mocking, beating, torture that would have killed the average man before they ever made it to the Cross. He was human and in the shadow of the Cross even Jesus wanted a way out. But, unlike the rich young man, Jesus didn’t turn and walk away.

John MacArthur wrote: “The cross is proof of both the immense love of God and the profound wickedness of sin.” 

Jesus boldly confessed His desire to please His Father above Himself, praying: “Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” Self-denial and sacrifice are the ways of the cross. We may not be commanded to sell all we have, but we, nonetheless, are directed to treat it as if it’s garbage compared with the all-encompassing majesty and glory of our Savior.

The “cross” to us is choosing Jesus – His will, His way, His glory, His honor – above and before – our will, our way, our glory, our honor! In light of the privilege of being called a child of God we reckon all things in comparison worthless.

Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8-9: “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.”

So, by God’s grace and with His help, I’m clinging to that old rugged Cross. How about you?

Blessings, Ed 😊

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