Religion

Walking the way of the Cross

By Dr. Karo Ogbinaka

Jesus Christ was the first to foretell His suffering by the Cross. This account is given in Luke 9:22, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain and be raised the third day.” This prophesy came to pass at Calvary.

The race of a Christian is the way of the Cross. It centres on this experience and event of Calvary.

The way to Calvary ended in the Cross at Golgotha. Hence the song, “On the way to Calvary He died for me.

He died and sets me free!” This is not some forms of socio-political freedom. To walk the way of the Cross gives us freedom from sin and eternal death.

But the walk is not a stroll. It a spiritually engaging work and walk with Christ Jesus. He demanded that His disciples and followers must do this task. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save” (Luke 9:24-25). Self-denial for God and Christ is a requisite spiritual condition to which we must be subjected if we are to be good Christians. Self-denial is commanded by Christ Jesus (Matthew 5:29-30; 10:37-39; 16:24-25; Roman 6; 8:1-13).

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). Self-denial draws nearer to Christ.

It enmeshes us into the godly and righteous since it alienates us from the lust of the world. It makes us to leave our daily worldly comfort to seek Christ daily in all we do. “Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrew 13:13).

Self-denial is not enough. We are commanded by Christ Jesus to take up the Cross. This Cross is not the locket necklace we wear on our necks and as ankles! It is not the gold or silver cross on Altar Tables in our Church’s sanctuary. It is not the Cross that Joseph of Arimathea carried. It is not even the Cross that Jesus Himself carried and upon which He was crucified.

It must be your or my cross and it is seen not physically but embodies all the significance of the Cross of Jesus Christ. To take up ones cross and follow Christ implies not being ashamed of Jesus Christ and the gospel. You must be ready to profess the Christian faith boldly and readily in every clime and place daily.

Christianity is not a one-stance event or experience. It is lived daily. This should be found in us. We should never be ashamed of Christ and his word.

This is the true foundation of discipleship (Mar 8:9). Christ is part of the Godhead. It will therefore be catastrophic if He is denied by any Christian whatever, wherever!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). The words of Christ Jesus are the words of God (John 3:34), spirit (John 6:63), life (John 6:63, 69), and are miraculous (John 14:10).

The words of Jesus Christ will also judge us (John 12:48) and can also reconcile us to God (John 14:23). Importantly, the words of Christ bring answers to the Christian’s prayers (John 15:7, 2 Corinthians 1:20). No doubt, there are great challenges in taking up the Cross.

It is not a cross of rose, but one that will be exchanged for a Crown ultimately. Jesus gives the assurance that those who follow Him would gain life.

To follow Christ means doing His will and that of His father. This means living a righteous life with a firm belief and faith in Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Saviour.

Paul wrote to the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 6:21).

And again, he writes, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoners, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8ff). The way of the Cross is a wilderness walk. Its terminus is a divine restful promised land, The Trumpet gathered.

The Cross of Christ is rugged. It involves a fight. All believers are called to suffer for the Church and Christ (Romans 8:18; 2 Timothy 3:12).

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To take up the cross is to boldly hold on to the Christian faith. Paul tells us to: “Fight the good fight of faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were also called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus made the good confession” (1 Timothy 6:12-13).

And again, he writes. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Let us therefore have a closer walk with Christ Jesus in this season of Lent and benefit from the promise of His omnipresence in our life circumstances.

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