Crucified with Christ – great cost and privilege

7 02 2016

We follow Jesus by laying down our lives in sacrifice.

pablo(1)The markers along the Jesus way follow the pattern of obedience established by Jesus Himself. As Gethsemane led inevitably to Golgotha for Jesus, surrender leads certainly to sacrifice for the disciple today. This is not unwelcome news. This is the way of the wonderful gospel – the work of Jesus working its way in into the story of we who believe.

Our journey as disciples inevitably and frequently passes through death-like experiences. In following the Jesus way, the disciple is continually called lay down his life as Jesus did. Jesus made this expectation very clear prior to His death.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (John 12:24-26).

The plant or tree that produces fruit had to first give off a seed which in turn died. In the same way, the disciple who desires to follow Jesus must first sacrifice his love of this life and what it offers. The one who follows Christ in surrender and sacrifice will encounter Jesus, not only in heaven, but also along the trail of the Jesus way.

So thoroughly does sacrifice characterize Jesus’ disciples that we speak of ourselves as sharing in His crucifixion. The Apostle Paul spoke passionately of this.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

“and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

We disciples will encounter Jesus in many opportunities to lay down our lives for His sake. These events will be difficult to bear. They may come in extended seasons of hardship and loss. But when we see our death-like experiences as times of sharing the suffering of Christ, they can have profound spiritual meaning. As we mature in our walk with Christ, we can more readily see our call to sacrifice as opportunities to bring glory to God through our obedience.

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