The Path That Leads Us To The Cross Part
As Christians we all know that there were two trees in the garden. One, ‘The Tree of Life’ was rejected by Adam. Adam and his wife could have freely eaten of this tree. Instead they chose the tree that looked pleasant to the eyes, a tree that to medicinereal.com the carnal nature was desirable, to make one wise. But the harsh reality was the tree that looked so pleasant and desirable, actually lead to their death, their separation from the presence of God.
I wonder if like Adam, we also had the real opportunity to gaze upon the ‘Tree of Life’ that was in the garden, would it appear desirable to us, would we choose it? We also like Adam have a choice, we can choose from either tree. Yet why do you suppose Eve was so easily deceived, why was the serpent so easily able to beguile her?
In symbolic language ‘The Tree of Life’ is the cross of Christ. In the movie “The Passion of the Christ” one of the two thieves asked Jesus, “Why are You embracing Your cross?” Many might ask persecuted Christians in China, Indonesia, or other nations the same question. To those who don’t know, who have no revelation of the cross, it would certainly have no appeal. In fact, it would not look like a ‘Tree of Life’ at all! The cross has no beauty that we should embrace it, for it does not look like life to us at all, in fact it looks and smells of death. Maybe, this is the reason Adam and Eve rejected it in the garden. Remember the only tree they were commanded not to eat from, was the one they chose. Two choices and they made the wrong one. The one they chose was desirable to look at, and the fruit looked good, but it’s fruit lead to their death, and separation from the Father.
On the other hand, to embrace the cross would surely lead us to death. Yet, in spite of the way it appeared, the fruit of the cross leads us to resurrection life, in Christ. Man’s way ends in death, God’s way to life eternal.
The way of the disciple is to “take up our cross and follow Christ.” This is not the popular path, that leads to destruction, but the narrow path that leads to life. those who choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, really think they are the wise ones, that the way of the cross is foolish. They believe they have control over their own lives and their destiny. The one who follows Christ, knows though, that the wages of disobedience is death.
Jesus told Peter in John 21:18-19, of his eventual death, yet strangely He also commanded, “Follow Me.” Jesus, Himself had already experienced the resurrection that follows embracing the cross, and doing the Father’s will. He willing endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. Paul also endured shame and humiliation much like Jesus endured, yet Paul did so with great joy, that he might share in Christ’s resurrection. Both Peter and Paul’s lives brought forth the fruit that only comes from embracing the cross, from choosing the narrow path, that leads to life.
Just as there were two trees in the garden, there are also two gates, or pathways, that we can choose from today. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because, narrow is the gate and difficult the way which leads to life, and there are few that find it.”
As you enter into the narrow gate, those around you might think your rather foolish, because to the world’s point of view, the cross is foolishness. For those who enter in by this gate, and do not turn back, their lives are changed from glory to glory. When they come to the end of that narrow path, they have nothing left of themselves, but they have gained Christ.
True Christian growth is not measured by how much knowledge we have, or how big our ministry is, or how many are under our covering. True Christian growth is more of Christ and less of Me. True Christian growth is revealed in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The real elder is not in age, but in maturity in Christ. The one who has decreased, and allowed Christ to increase.
“Anyone who does not take up his own cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. The one who finds his life will lose it, and the one who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39).
Remember this is not a path you can take in your own strength, or ability, it is Grace that brings us to the gate, and it is Grace that will lead us down the path.
Quote from ‘Infinite Supply, taken from “Back To The Cross,” by Chip Brogden.
“For I determined to not know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
“Religion seeks to reform a man; the cross seeks to crucify him. Religion may fail to bring about the desired result, but the Cross never fails to achieve it’s end. Mankind will pursue morality, virtue, spirituality, even perform religious works and good deeds, in order to avoid death on a Cross. But there are no wounds, no scars, no evidence of having ever died and been made alive unto God. Either a man has never died, or he has died and been raised again. You cannot fake a resurrection.
The cross is the means by which God reduces us to Christ, that we may be raised to new life. What cannot be accomplished in a lifetime of self-effort is easily accomplished in God through the Cross. We may take many shortcuts along the way and attempt to escape the inevitable, but the day we cease striving and meekly accept the Cross we find everything is done for us. In fact, death by crucifixion cannot be accomplished by suicide. We cannot crucify ourselves. The instrument of our death is chosen for us, as well as the manner in which it is carried out, the timing and the duration of the execution-all is controlled by Another. There is nothing to be done, for we must submit to the Unseen Hand and cast ourselves completely upon Him.”
Blessings. Jerry & Kazuko Sorrow
Naha City Church Ministries
Jerry & Kazuko Sorrow