3RD MARCH 2022
THE CROSS IS NOT A BURDEN BUT A DECISION OF FAITH
LUKE 9: 22-25
We had Ash Wednesday yesterday which officially and even spiritually marked the beginning of the Lenten season and today is the second day of the forty days of Lent. Lent has just began and in these early days of Lent we are talking about the cross.
Why do we mention the cross this early yet it's real and full meaning will be more evident towards the end of Lent? Why do we mention the cross this early yet in the life of Jesus it became more evident during his last days on earth? Why mention it this early, why can't we wait until the last days of Lent to see its significance?
We mention it this early because Jesus also mentioned it early to his disciples to make them aware that to follow him entails self-giving and this will help them to focus on Jesus himself as the perfect example of the self-giving.
What if Jesus was to tell his disciples about the cross just when he was about to die or after the resurrection or when he was just about to ascend into heaven, would they have understood what the cross means?
Probably they would not have understood it, they would be confused and probably that is why at the trial of Jesus when Peter saw the reality of the cross dawning he denied Jesus. There is an advantage spiritually and generally in life of being told some pertinent issues in advance for you to be fully aware of its implications. Being told pertinent issues in advance gives you the opportunity to make an informed decision, no wonder Jesus says "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me". Note here that it is a daily thing. Note too that the cross comes as a result of denying yourself. No self-denial, no cross.
This self-denial comes as a result of personal decision to follow Jesus meaning that the cross is not a burden. The cross is brought about by making decisions based on your faith. If you change your faith decisions, then the cross will no longer be there.
The cross is mentioned early as an opportunity from God to do God's will and therefore it is not a burden but a decision made willingly in faith.
Is it possible that sometimes our faith and other aspects of life do not go as we expected because we were not fully aware of what they entail? Have we ever pulled out or walked away from a situation we did not understand; we saw it as a burden that had not been mentioned earlier?
As followers of Jesus we may shrink from the thought of self-denial, we may shrink from the thought of dying to self yet in nature we easily accept that a seed must pass through "death" in order to produce new life. Why should a decision of faith you have willingly made be a burden? It should not. Is there an issue of faith that you are keeping silent about yet it is pertinent and the earlier it is known the better for your faith and for your life?