By Pastor Reg Higginbottom - Moulton and Montery Christian Churches
As we focus upon this Easter season in 2012, we begin by first looking at the cross which Christ bore for us. For we are so quick to jump to Easter Sunday that we forget about the cross, but it is really the cross that makes the difference. For this kind of the two-edged sword if you will without Christ's death on the cross there would be no Easter Sunday and the Resurrection of our Lord. But without His resurrection from the cross, it was just another man who was executed. We celebrate His resurrection on Easter Sunday, but let’s first take a look at his death upon the cross on Good Friday. What is our response to what Christ did in our place that first Good Friday? Do we respond by taking up our cross and following Him? We must take up our cross daily and follow Him. Following Him!
In Luke 9:23-24 Jesus says, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” The significance of the cross is our response to it. Jesus went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins but we must first believe and then follow him. And I think that’s part of the problem in Christianity today. Kyle Idelman in his book, “Not a Fan but a committed follower of Jesus Christ,” says that too many Christians live their lives like fans of various sports teams or stars of movies. They wave their flags and cheer for their team or buy the movie stars movies or CDs and takes them home and put them on a shelf. Christians go to church and do the same thing. They sing their songs, they maybe even carry their Bibles to Church too, but then put them on the coffee table at home until next Sunday.
Idelman defines a fan as an enthusiastic follower. Jesus calls us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. That brings and implies a total commitment to Him. And it is a commitment especially in light of what Christ did for us on the cross. That should demand more than a casual response, it should demand our all. In the Gospels it calls us to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved and it is important to believe, but in those same Gospels there are at least 20 calls for us to come follow Him.
Likewise, Idelman also says we often say well I will do it tomorrow. The problem is tomorrow never comes. It is always one thing after another and then one day it is too late. Idelman asked in his book, “Not a Fan” what is tomorrow? Is not tomorrow what today was yesterday! And I believe as we look at the cross of Jesus Christ and what He has done, what He’s called us to, we need to make a total commitment to Him. What we think of all He gave up and all He went through for us. That He set aside the splendor of heaven and lived amongst us and resisted temptation as an example and then without sin, He went to the cross and paid our penalty for our sin in our place, so that we might have the hope of eternal life. But it first begins when we believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, recognize our own sin and ask Him to forgive us and come into our hearts as Lord and savior. And then He calls us in Luke 9:23 to take up our cross and follow Him.
Follow Him! We must take up our cross and follow Him. And that is not just when it’s convenient, and that’s not just 95,96 or 97 percent of you, but all 100 percent of you. As we examine the cross this Good Friday and Easter Sunday let us say, “I’m not a fan. I am a completely committed follower of Jesus Christ.” And in response to Easter let us take up our cross daily and follow Him! Then the cross will make a difference.