Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 25 or Lent :: ReThinking the Cross

“Without Gethsemane, there would have been no Golgotha.
blood and water that flowed from His wounds on the cross
were pre
ceded by bloody sweat that poured from His pores
as He suffered the
agony of a death more painful than
the physical death on the cross,
the death of the will.”
Michael Card

At least three times in the past, Jesus had described his final fate to uncomprehending disciples, speaking with great urgency:

“And He began to teach them that
the Son of Man must suffer many things.”
Mark 8:31

Reflection: How do you think you might have felt upon hearing these things?

On one occasion Peter was so distraught, he took Jesus aside and insisted He not talk that way. Jesus rebuked Peter, then turned to the crowd and admonished them:

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
Mark 8:33-34

Reflection: Read Jesus’ response again aloud. Hear Him speaking these words to you as if you were the only one left with Him that day. What is He saying about your own life? What will it mean for you to accompany Him on the rest of this painful journey?

Respond in prayer to the challenge Jesus gives here. Write it out in your prayer journal.

A Prayer
Dearest Redeemer, even now you lead the way to your execution. Will I follow as you take up Your Cross? Your strength sobers me, and I wonder how you prepared for this moment. I look at your determination to obey and weak excuses die on my lips. I want to walk with you still, though I wonder how close I can stay as you move to your death. If I turn back, remind me of this moment when you set your face like flint to the stormy seas that awaited you.*

*Tricia McCary Rhodes in Contemplating the Cross, 25

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