It was morning and He hadn’t slept in over 24 hours. A friend betrayed His loyalties with a kiss. Religious leaders sought to kill Him. False witnesses spoke out against Him. His death was demanded by an angry crowd. He was flogged beyond recognition. A crown of thorns pierced his head. He was ridiculed and spat upon. On His bloodied back He carried a wooden cross.
His friends denied Him.
Large, thick nails bored into His hands and feet. He was lifted up as an instrument of mockery.
Because of sin, yours and mine, the Son of God was found guilty. Christ Jesus gave Himself as the sacrifice and payment for our sins.
And on the third day He rose victorious.
At Easter we gather together to remember what Christ did for us on the cross and to celebrate His resurrection. But more than just recognizing His atonement for our sins on one day a year, we now have the high calling of honoring His sacrifice with our lives. We have the opportunity every day to follow the example the Lord gave us on Golgotha and as we do, we also will rise to spiritual victory and life.
The day we put our faith in Jesus Christ and in His work for our salvation, our old nature was put to death and we were risen to a new, spiritual life. But our bodies are not yet glorified; we are still bound within them and with them a pull to the old life.
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
Just as His cross led to victory, our road to spiritual victory is paved with our crosses-the daily putting to death of sin and our own fleshly desires.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
My dear friends, the day of the Lord’s return draws nearer every day and there is work to be done in and for the kingdom. The lost need to hear the gospel, churches need planting, souls need prayer, people need loving and we need to grow up in Him.
What is keeping you from being usable in His hands, from being the most effective salt and the brightest light you can be? What is keeping you from walking the road to spiritual victory? The way is the cross, yes, but we never carry it alone, and with it the joy of the Lord is set before us!
Instead of denying Him with a life of compromise, let us courageously follow hard after Him, taking up our cross and nailing to it our sins, both the acts done outwardly and those that live in our minds. As we do, we will glorify and honor our Savior and His sacrifice. His life will be lived through us and we will become a fragrant offering to our risen King.