Following Christ


#1

If Jesus provided a blood sacrifice that can potentially save us from terrible suffering, why does he emphasize the need to carry our cross as we follow Him on the path to His kingdom? I don’t think anything can be clearer than Matthew 10:38 - And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. To me, this nullifies any salvation that His blood sacrifice may provide to believers who do not carry their cross.

I interpret carrying the cross to mean ignoring our own selfish desires and concentrating on serving others. I think Jesus was telling us that the more we are able to lose sight of the physical world as we know it, the more we will become aware of the kingdom of heaven which is and has always been around us. Loving our neighbor opens our eyes and our hearts to heavenly experiences that far surpass the pleasures of the material world. The kingdom of heaven is within us, but we only become aware of that kingdom as our focus shifts away from our selves, i.e. as we die to gain eternal life.


#2

I don’t remember reading anywhere in Scripture that Jesus died to save us from terrible suffering. He died to save us from eternal damnation, but never said we would be spared from suffering on earth. In fact, He does say just the opposite, the we must be prepared to pick up our cross and follow Him.


#3

[quote=Didi]I don’t remember reading anywhere in Scripture that Jesus died to save us from terrible suffering. He died to save us from eternal damnation, but never said we would be spared from suffering on earth. In fact, He does say just the opposite, the we must be prepared to pick up our cross and follow Him.
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Let me rephrase…If Jesus provided a blood sacrifice that can potentially save us from suffering to the nth degree…


#4

[quote=tem2]I interpret carrying the cross to mean ignoring our own selfish desires and concentrating on serving others.
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That’s a somewhat more broad interpretation than the context strictly justifies. Jesus is speaking of “the Cross” in terms of willingness to accept whatever hardships may come along with following him (ie, family strife, loss of possessions, etc).

As followers of Christ, we are also called to grow in love and spiritual maturity, as your examples illustrate. But these aspects of our discipleship is not part of “carrying our Cross” as Jesus explained it.


#5

[quote=tem2]If Jesus provided a blood sacrifice that can potentially save us from terrible suffering, why does he emphasize the need to carry our cross as we follow Him on the path to His kingdom? I don’t think anything can be clearer than Matthew 10:38 - And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. To me, this nullifies any salvation that His blood sacrifice may provide to believers who do not carry their cross.

I interpret carrying the cross to mean ignoring our own selfish desires and concentrating on serving others. I think Jesus was telling us that the more we are able to lose sight of the physical world as we know it, the more we will become aware of the kingdom of heaven which is and has always been around us. Loving our neighbor opens our eyes and our hearts to heavenly experiences that far surpass the pleasures of the material world. The kingdom of heaven is within us, but we only become aware of that kingdom as our focus shifts away from our selves, i.e. as we die to gain eternal life.
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Before Jesus came, people had crosses to bear. After Jesus came, people have crosses to bear. The differences is now we have someone to follow, an example we can have full confidence in, as we bear our cross. We know which way to go (if we listen to and head God’s word). If we continue to follow him with whatever burden’s we have, eventually we will understand his words from Chapter 11 of Matthew
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, 16 and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." peace

-Jim


#6

I think there are a number of references in Scripture, including the Matthew verse you reference, where Jesus is saying that following Him is not easy - prepared to be scorned, abused, persecuted, etc…standing up for your faith is not easy. Doing the right thing is not easy.

The “popular” well-liked approach is often the secular, cafeteria-style, or “personal choice” approach. You will indeed be carrying a Cross if you live your Faith to the fullest.


#7

Taken from The Imitation of Christ

The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere. No matter where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go you take yourself with you and shall always find yourself. Turn where you will—above, below, without, or within—you will find a cross in everything, and everywhere you must have patience if you would have peace within and merit an eternal crown.

If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry and lead you to the desired goal where indeed there shall be no more suffering, but here there shall be. If you carry it unwillingly, you create a burden for yourself and increase the load, though still you have to bear it. If you cast away one cross, you will find another and perhaps a heavier one. Do you expect to escape what no mortal man can ever avoid? Which of the saints was without a cross or trial on this earth? Not even Jesus Christ, our Lord, Whose every hour on earth knew the pain of His passion. “It behooveth Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, . . . and so enter into his glory.”How is it that you look for another way than this, the royal way of the holy cross?


#8

[quote=tem2]Let me rephrase…If Jesus provided a blood sacrifice that can potentially save us from suffering to the nth degree…
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But Jesus didn’t promise that. Good heavens, look at the martyrdoms in the Early Church.


#9

I will try to say this so that it makes sense.
We are called as Christians to imitate Christ. He came to show us the way (and He is “the way”); to teach us by word and by example. Now, He is the “suffering servant” spoken of by Isaiah and he himself told the apostle that he must suffer. It was by his suffering and death on the cross that he saved man. Therefore, when we suffer in the same spirit as our Lord, we become more like him. Suffering offered for the love of God is redemptive because through it we share in and are united in the suffering of the God/man who saves us. God is gracious in allowing us to participate with his Son in His redemptive work by sending suffering to us. Seen in the right light, suffering is a gift.


#10

[quote=Sherlock]But Jesus didn’t promise that. Good heavens, look at the martyrdoms in the Early Church.
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I think the OP is trying to point out that the Sacrifice of Jesus can save us from hell (I think that is what is meant by “suffering to the nth degree”)


#11

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