Message Monday 4/10/17 – Love Your Neighbor: The Return Of The King, Part 2

Chuck Foreman – Teaching / Missions Pastor

Sometimes the paradoxical, the very thing we least expect and even resist doing, is the very thing that brings us peace and fulfillment. This is the Way of the Cross.

Think about this with me… 

All along for the past 3 years, Jesus had been showing and telling of the new way for Israel to beIsrael, the People of God, the light of the world. The way into his kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven, which had come near, was:

  • The way of the meek, not the powerful
  • the way of the peacemaker, not the Zealot
  • the way of the merciful, not the judgmental
  • the way of turning the other cheek & going the 2nd mile, not resistance or retaliation
  • the way of faithfulness, not lust, adultery and divorce
  • the way of love for your enemies, not hate
  • the way of generosity toward the poor and compassion for the needy, not self indulgence
  • and the way of servanthood, not authority…

as he demonstrated, himself, on his hands & knees, on the floor, in the upper room where he washed his own disciple’s feet.

So now, rather than taking up the sword, (as Peter had just done in the garden) and leading a military revolt against Rome, he took up his own cross, just as he had told his would-be followers they must do.

The way of apparent defeat would now become the way of victory. The cross would become, no longer the symbol of death and horror, but the symbol of Jesus’ new kingdom and of his redeemed People.

Just think about how Jesus has both demolished and expanded nearly all of our categories: The cross is now his symbol, our symbol. Servanthood, not power is the DNA of his Kingdom. Suffering leads to strength and overcoming. Love demonstrated through sacrifice and humility can melt the coldest of hearts and is changing our world.

N.T. Wright puts it like this:

 “When we speak of ‘following Christ’, it is the crucified Messiah we are talking about. His death wasn’t simply the messy bit which enables our sins to be forgiven but which can then be forgotten.  The cross is the surest, truest and deepest window on the very heart and character of the living and loving God; the more we learn about the cross, in all its historical and theological dimensions, the more we discover about the one in whose image we are made, and hence about our own vocation to be the cross-bearing people, the people in whose lives and service the living God is made known.  And when therefore we speak of shaping our world, we do not—we dare not—simply treat the cross as the thing which saves us ‘personally’, but which can be left behind when we get on with the job.”

(N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus, p. 69)

The Paradox of Passover is that the Way of the Cross, which determines, not only how we must live, but quite possibly how we may also die, was and still is the Victory of God.

If you want to experience true victory, you have to be willing to lose everything, to love the unlovely and the unlovable, to give till it hurts, to serve like a slave, and to lay down your life for a cause and a Kingdom that is not of this world, but which has come to and is growing everywhere in this world.

This is the Way of the Cross! Should you decide to accept it, then and only then, will you experience the Victory of God in your life.

Right On!

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