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murjahel

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On the way to Gethsemane #3



HATRED FROM THE WORLD
IS TO BE EXPECTED

 

John 15:

18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.

19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.

21 But all these things will they do unto you for My name's sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.

22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

23 He that hateth Me hateth My Father also.

24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father.

25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause.

 

JESUS BORE A CROSS

DUE TO THE HATRED OF THE WORLD.

WE ARE TOLD TO BEAR A CROSS.

HATRED WILL COME AGAINST US.

WE SHALL BEAR WOUNDS.

Matthew 16:24 (KJV)

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Mark 10:21-22 (KJV)

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

 

This is quite a challenge, in fact, it is more than that, it is a command. We are to bear a cross. Crosses are heavy, and they are not just a weight, they are a place where we will be nailed, lifted up for the world to mock, and left to die there. Yet, there is also a resurrection for us. We do not bear these crosses to be defeated there, but we bear the cross to go to the victory Jesus has assured us by His cross.

 

Jesus was betrayed by a friend. This broke His heart, and the day that surpasses all previous days of history had begun. Jesus was led to Caiaphas’ house and was falsely accused. Then they took Him to Pilate, and there He was again falsely accused. Pilate questioned Him, and then Pilate sought a way to not have this obviously innocent man to be punished. He gave the people a choice between a feared and hated criminal, named Barabbas, and this Jesus, a healer and teacher of righteousness. The people chose to have Barabbas freed. Jesus was then beaten, spat upon, mocked, crowned with thorns. Jesus was hated.

Isaiah 53:5-8 (KJV)

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken.

Jesus was oppressed, afflicted, betrayed by a friend, led as a Lamb to slaughter, falsely accused, forsaken by all. The lives of we who today bear the cross that Jesus gave us leave us ‘wounded’, ‘bruised’, ‘oppressed’, ‘afflicted’, ‘stricken’, and also feeling like a ‘lamb’ brought to slaughter. These afflictions are real and at times, the pain is felt deep through our souls.

The supreme religious council had plotted and planned His death. An insulting price of a slave was paid to a betraying friend to secure the arrest of Jesus. A few days before, all of His disciples had declared to ‘never forsake’ nor betray Him. The darkest hours of His earthly life had come, and crowds had cried out, ‘crucify Him’, though’ He had never done any of them harm.

The words of others, crying out, to or about us, hurt us deeply. Jesus felt the pain of unkind, unloving words. We too, bearing this cross He gave for us, feel the hurt of cutting words.

Luke 9:23-26

"And He said to them all: If any man will come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whomsoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it."

Galatians 5:11

"Then is the offense of the cross preached."

The offense of the cross has never ceased. To suppose that it would - is absurdity. The religion of Jesus is the most peaceful, mild, benevolent, and yet history has shown it to be the most attacked and hated. The sinners are offended by the cross. The times of the early church were well-acquainted with the cross. The worst of sinners were put upon crosses and were made to die the most humiliating deaths upon crosses. To be told that the Savior of the world, the Son of God, the Messiah, was put in such a humiliating place for our sins was repugnant to those of that day. It offended them.

Mankind has never liked to admit that he has sinned.
Romans 3:23
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
Mankind deserves death, but they are unwilling to admit it.
Romans 6:23
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."

Mankind is too proud, and wants to cover sin, and wants to call their sins to be mistakes. The cross humbles mankind. To defend against the humbling effect of the cross, mankind takes offense, and is angered by the cross. They consider it to be foolishness.

I Corinthians 1:18-24

"preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that perish."

 

Sinners of the early church period protested the religion of the cross, and wanted to proclaim that they could be "all right" if they did their best. Any who believe otherwise, are persecuted. Believers are called "old fashioned", "fanatics". Believers in the cross are criticized, called 'weak minded'.

I John 3:13

"Marvel not if the world hate you."

Many in Christianity today have also been offended by the cross. Many have done away with songs and sermons on the blood, and on the cross. They reject doctrines on Christ's death and sacrifice for us. They do not want the cross, for they do not want to admit there is a real hell, or sin that could send them there. So many churches preach a bloodless, cross-less gospel. They substitute "social change", "riot", and "marches".

Those in the early church soon began to wear small crosses on a chain or ring about the neck. They loved the cross, they valued what it meant. They wanted to wear such a symbol. Yet, the Lord wants to have us to do so much more than wear just a symbol. The Lord has to us to "take up a cross, and follow Him."

Though the world hated the symbol, though the whole idea of a Savior, a Messiah Who would die such a horrible death was repugnant to mankind, still the saints of the early church proudly wore a small cross around their neck. It meant reproach in greater measure, for it identified them to the world as a believer in the Jesus Who died upon an old wooden cross as a horrible criminal would.

In the Psalm quoted by Jesus while He hung upon the cross, we see how He was feeling at that time.

Psalms 22:6

"But I am a worm, and no man;

a reproach of men, and despised of people."


We all must bear a cross for our Lord. This will involve suffering, agony, pain, sorrow, etc.

Psalms 31:11,13

"I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance; they that did see me without fled from me. ...For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side; while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life."

Because of the cross, because of the life we must live for the Lord, and because of the message we must proclaim to this world, we find a cross that is difficult to bear. Our friends will reproach us, our friends will even lie against us, misunderstand what others tell them about us, will believe every lie told about us. They will take counsel against us, plot against us.

Psalms 41:5

"Mine enemies speak evil against me, When shall he die, and his name perish?"

 

Despite all of the aforementioned, this cross that we are to bear, following our Lord to some personal calvary, is not as heavy as some would pretend.

Matthew 11:30

"My yoke is easy (good), and My burden is light..."

Jesus said that the Pharisees "bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne... and lay them on men's shoulders." (Matthew 23:4). Yet, our Lord asks us to bear a "styrofoam cross". Some of today's congregations are like the Pharisees, and want a religion that is heavy with burdens. Many congregations want Christianity to be hard and troublesome. The early church battled the same tendency. They wanted to make the burden carried by those in the church to be heavier than planned by the Lord.

Acts 15:10

"Why tempt ye God to put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?"

Some in the early church wanted to make the burdens carried to be heavy. Jesus came to bear our burdens, and told us to do what He did. Therefore, we should be trying to lighten the burdens of others, not adding to the burdens. Some add rules, regulations, laws, and heavy weights to the faith. These are not the ‘cross’ we are to be carrying, and if we add all those to the ‘cross’ we are bearing far heavier a cross than Jesus ever intended.

 

Matthew 11:28

"Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden."

We are told to "learn of" Jesus. The Lord Jesus is called "Rabbi"(teacher) 80 times in Scriptures. He is a great Teacher. Jesus can teach us much. He tried to teach us how to carry a cross, but to carry a styrofoam cross.

Jesus said:

John 14:1

"Let not your heart be troubled!"

The cross should not make us be troubled. The same burdens carried by some saints are carried lightly, as others carry those burdens as though they are so very heavy.

Notice how willingly Paul carried his cross.

I Corinthians 4:12-13

"And labour, working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the offscouring of all things unto this day."

The prophets of the Old Testament were mistreated, lied about, abused, and even slain for their message and choice of God's ways over the way their friends wanted them to go.

James 5:6,10

"Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. ...Take my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering, affliction, and of patience."

 

The reason some can carry the cross so lightly is the same as that of a miser carrying a bag of heavy gold coins. He seems to bear the load lightly, for he values the heavy weight. A person who is lifting shovel after shovel of dirt and rocks as he digs up a treasure, does such with joy and anxiousness. The weight did not make him avoid the heavy work. It is the idea of the value of weight that makes the difference.

Paul said: "I glory in mine infirmities.". He had learned the value of the burdens that he carried. As hard as it is to realize, we need to comprehend that the Lord's "yoke is good". There is good in the burden of the cross that we bear.

II Corinthians 4:8

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed."

Moses had to choose to bear the cross of shame and reproach for God. He had to choose that life over a life of riches, ruling Egypt, and power. It could have been a difficult decision, but Moses made the right decision.

Hebrews 11:25-26

Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of reward."

The Lord wants us to bear a cross.

Luke 9:23-26

"And He said to them all: If any man will come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whomsoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it."

After we have borne a burden, and the Lord has delivered us through it, we can usually see the good that came from it. But the Lord wants us to realize as we are still bearing the burden, that it is good. Faith can move mountains, and faith can make our cross, our yoke, and our burdens be lightly borne.

 

One key to the realization of such is to learn to submit willingly to the cross. Some will struggle against it, and fight to not carry it. But if we willingly submit to the cross that we bear, we will find that it is only a styrofoam cross. It may look heavy, and burdensome, but our faith upholds the heaviest burden lightly.

The happy ending may be years away, the suffering may still be counted good, because we know, in faith, that God will make all things "work together for good." Faith will still work in the dark, and when we can in the natural see no way for things to work out.

II Timothy 1:12

"For the which cause I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."

The world tells us that "It will be all right soon!" when things are really tough. Yet, a Christian can say "It is all right now! We can say, by faith, that we "take pleasure in our infirmities."

Everyone has some kind of burdens, but only the Christian has "good" burdens.

Romans 8:28

"All things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose."

 

Not all Christians realize this, and many are carrying the styrofoam cross like it was a mountain. Meekness is bearing a heavy burden lightly. The Lord told us to "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly." Christ bore a heavy burden and bore it meekly. He wants us to be like Him. If we reluctantly resolve to bear the burden only as long as we must, we are not meekly bearing the burden. Anxiousness to not bear your cross makes it heavy. To struggle to get rid of the cross makes it heavy. To scoff, sneer, and scorn the burdens makes them heavy. We need to learn to be content, no matter what state we find ourselves in. When we become happy for the cross, when we rejoice in our sufferings for our Lord, the burdens become light.

I Peter 3:14

"But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled."

I Peter 4:14

"If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified."

Meekness is an unnoticed virtue. It is so quiet that we do not find others praising us for it. Christ bore His burdens so lightly, and happily, that the disciples kept thinking that they were going to Jerusalem to install Him as King and Messiah, but He was on His way to the crucifixion.

Today, while many are on their way to victories, you would think they were on their way to a crucifixion. They fear and dread, complain and scorn the littlest trials. They do not bear the burden lightly, but murmur against God and the burdens.

Some people want others to notice every burden they carry. They want to talk of every trial, every financial crisis, every persecution. They have a "Pity-Me! Complex".

Meekness is not an unnoticed virtue by God. If we willingly accept the cross, bear it with pride for our Lord, and do not struggle, complain, or sit in exasperation at the crosses we bear, the Lord is well pleased.

I Peter 4:12-13,16

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on His behalf."



THE CROSS
IS A PRECIOUS GIFT.

II Timothy 2:12

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us."

The part of that verse, "if we deny Him" really lacks the word "Him" for it was added by the translators. This verse really means: "if we deny the suffering, then He will deny us." It is vital that we learn to bear our cross willingly. We must not seek just the false "prosperity doctrine" that is prevalent today. We must learn to allow ourselves to be mistreated, abused, hated, lied about, plotted against.

II Timothy 1:8

"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, His prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God."

 

The cross, that we are asked to bear, is a styrofoam cross. It is light and easy to carry, when we willingly accept it from the Lord. We can bear it proudly, for we are suffering for Him. We can know that the Lord will deliver us from all these trials we bear.

II Corinthians 1:9-10

"But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God Who raiseth the dead; Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in Whom we trust that He will yet deliver us."

 

 Jesus rose from the grave, and showed victory over even death. If He can do that, we can be assured of our own resurrection if we abide in Him. Therefore, what threat, what abuse, what persecution, and what intimidation can hurt us??? We will be ultimate victors through Jesus, and need not fear. We can smile for the Lord will deliver us.

The wounds of the cross are precious wounds, and the healing is not just assured, it is the scars and wounds themselves. When Jesus returned from paradise, in a new immortal body, He still kept the wounds, in His hands and side, they were there to show to Thomas, to demonstrate to any doubters. He did not get a new body that was void of any evidence of the ‘cross’ that He endured. We may be surprised that the wounds of the cross down here, will be our glory on our new bodies.

How can we do all this? Just as we have done here now, 'CONSIDER JESUS'. As we look to our Savior, Who did all this for us, and consider what He has asked of us, and what He has promised us for the future, we can 'consider Him' and rejoice. The pain is there, till we step from here to His presence, but we shall rejoice in our 'scars' for Him, as He proudly showed forth His nail prints for us.

Many want to be chosen of God, but they soon learn, that this means they will be hated.

John 15:19

"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

Many want to be Christ-like, but we learn that this will require that they are persecuted.

John 15:20

"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also..."

Many want to be spoken to personally by God, but do not know that this means they must be humbled.

John 15:22

"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloke for their sin."

Many want to be a blessing to others, but they find out this will mean that they will be hated without cause.

John 15:24-25

"If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in the law, They hated Me without a cause."


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murjahel
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