This is passion week. As a Christian, I am joining my brothers & sisters all over the world in remembering the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. On this past Sunday morning, I had the opportunity to bring the word at CC Riverside in Delran, NJ where I taught on Jesus’ Palm Sunday ride. On Monday morning, I had the opportunity to listen (via Sticher radio) to listen to my dear friend & brother in Christ, Billy Rutledge, preach the most intriguing and provocative “Palm Sunday” message I have ever heard. He used the text from Mark 8:27-38, with Jesus and His disciples at Caesarea Philippi where He asked them “Who do the people say that I, the Son of Man, am?” From there, Billy brought things current by revealing how popular culture today ( including the pop culture within western ‘Christendom’) answers the question, “who is Jesus?” by constructing a Jesus that is palatable enough for everyone to be comfortable with, but a Jesus foreign to HE who is revealed to us in, upon & through the pages of scripture. Then Billy turned his listeners back to the Cross of Calvary and presented the Biblical Jesus against that backdrop.
Billy’s sermon was clear, concise, cutting, costly…and so very necessary! Since then, I have been ‘musing’ about the implication of the Cross in my own life, and verses like the one below have been my constant companion ~ “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Jesus; Luke 9:23).
This morning – in the middle of Passion Week – I am taking the time to employ my two thumbs to tap out an anthem of sorts. It is my own reflection on the Cross. To me, the very heart of the gospel IS the Cross. And, of course, I am not talking about the sort of a cross you wear as an earring… or hang around your neck on a chain. I am talking about a cruel Roman cross. The sort of a cross where Jesus hung, bled & died. That cross is the symbol of suffering and sacrifice. It speaks of hurt and pain and humiliation and rejection.
I, for one, want no part of the Christian message that does not call me to involvement, that requires of me no sacrifice, that takes from me no comfort, or that requires of me less than the best I have to give.
Contrary to much of what is taught from Church pulpits and talked about in Christian circles today, my duty & responsibility as a Christian is not to be “mainstream”, or relatable, or successful. My duty & responsibility as a Christian is to be faithful. Faithful to God, to His word and to those around me.
The verse below sums up my thoughts and my response to what I have written above. I wish to thank the Holy Spirit for inspiring the Apostle Paul to state it so simply, clearly & distinctly ~“Let a man so account of us, as of the servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1Cor. 4:1-2).