A Cross With Splinters

by Herman Crawford

“And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, ‘Who do the people say that I am?’ They answered and said, ‘John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.’ And He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Peter answered and said, ‘The Christ of God.’ But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, saying, ‘The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed (slain) and be raised on the third day.’” (Luke 9:18-22)

I mentioned in my previous devotional that I am in the process of reading Francis Schaffer’s book True Spirituality. He points out three specific things from the reading above that we must endure in order for us to truly be followers of Christ.

1. Must be rejected – in this instance it was rejection by the Elders and religious leaders of the day. For us, it may be family, it may be friends, and for sure, the world in general. We can read and see today how the Church (that’s us) is under attack. We will be rejected.

2. Must be killed/slain – In Luke 14:27, we read: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” What is the purpose of the cross? People die on them. Not only do we as followers of Jesus die on it, we do so daily (Luke 9:23). Schaffer says that “there are splinters in the Christian’s cross” as we are surrounded in this life by things that are alien to God. We die to ourselves daily to live for Christ!

3. Must be raised – Romans 6:1-7 – “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? Far from it! How shall we who died to sin (Note: point 2 – slain) still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in
newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the
likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for the one who has died is freed from sin.” Our sinful life died with Christ upon accepting Him as our Lord and Savior, but thanks be to God our resurrected life (new creation)
began at that time as well.

So, as we look at the death and resurrection of Jesus at this Easter season, do you really identify with Him in the sense that you have been rejected, slain, and now risen? Does this make sense? Study the Scripture passages above. Meditate on them. Have you felt the splinters of your daily cross?

God, help us as we struggle daily to live as you desire us to live. Amen.

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