Today is Good Friday, a day that every Christian looks to as the epicenter of Salvation. Without Good Friday there is no Resurrection Sunday, and if there is no Resurrection Sunday we are ‘above all people most to be pitied’ (1 Cor. 15:19).
Good Friday is also a stark reminder that, “Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:24-25)
The ‘cross’ as we see on Good Friday is and always was an instrument of death. So if someone says, ‘I can’t [blank] it’s just my cross to bear.’ They are grossly misinterpreting the above verse.
Jesus is literally saying ‘Come die with me.’
So in light of Good Friday, my question for us is: Are we prepared to die?
The question is not ‘Are you willing to die?’ because everyone to some degree would probably say ‘yes’, but most people would be lying.
So, let’s look at Matthew 10:37-39 and ask ourselves the hard questions:
- Are we loving our parents more than we are loving Jesus? If the answer is yes, (Be honest) then we are not worthy of Him.
- Are we loving our kids more than we are loving Jesus? (this is a hard one for me, I really love my kids) If the answer is yes, we are not worthy of Him.
- Are we loving our life more than we are loving Jesus? (this is also a very hard one) If the answer is yes, we are not worthy of Him.
Today, many people are living in fear. It could be a fear of personal sickness, it could be a fear of a family member dying, it could be any number of things. But has our fear become greater than our God?
For the Christian, when we live we are like Christ to those around us, when we die we are with Christ. So for us death is gain (Phil. 1:21).
There is a story I heard long ago about a village that, when their kids reached a certain age, would send them out for a week into the wilderness. Every night lions would roar and kids would scream, and at the end of the week only a few kids would survive because the others were eaten by the lions. One family, when their son was getting older, consulted a wise prophet a few villages over, and the wise prophet said, ‘tell your son when he hears the lion roar, that he must run toward the roar.’ Confused and saddened at this crazy advice they came back and told their son what the prophet had said. When the time came for their son and his peers to head into the wilderness, they reminded him of the prophets advice.
As the kids were in the wilderness they made a fire to keep warm. The first night was silent, but the second night they heard the roars. Some kids ran away from the roar while others followed the son toward the roar. The kids who ran away were eaten by lions, while the kids who ran toward the roar were spared. At the end of the week most of the kids survived!
The villagers had no idea that the lions were setting a trap. The older lions when they had lost their teeth were sent to one side of the fire, and the younger lions were on the other side of the fire. When the older lions roared, the kids would turn and run right into the teeth of the younger lions. But when the son ran toward the older lions the old lions ran away because they had no teeth.
For us death roars at us loudly trying to scare us to run away, toward what seems like life, but is the teeth of the enemy. However, when we run toward the roar of death with Christ, we find that the boast of death was empty, and we have entered the true life that Jesus promised us (1 Cor. 15:54-55).
Therefore, we must take up our cross and follow Jesus into the grave, so that we can be resurrected with Him.
Whoever loses his life for the sake of Christ will find it (Matthew 10:39).