Easter in Review

Published April 3, 2024 by Steve Wells

This year for Lent we followed Jesus on the Way of the Cross. Luke 9:51 tells us Jesus “resolutely set His face toward Jerusalem.” Every step He took after 9:51 was a step toward the cross. What we know now is that the cross is the only way to the empty tomb. The plan God has for each of us involves the cross. First, our only hope in this life and for the next is the cross of Christ that leads to the resurrection of Christ. But as the hymn writer asked, “must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? No there’s a cross for everyone and there's a cross for me.” Just before Jesus set out for Jerusalem, He told His disciples (9:23), “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

God has an agenda for each of us—that we take up our cross. It seems to me that the cross I must bear is not the same thing as thorns in my life. The Apostle Paul said (2 Corinthians 12:7) he had been given a “thorn to buffet him.” Thorns are things in life we do not choose that give us pain. Thorns are unchosen suffering. Jesus came to alleviate suffering. We all endure suffering we have not chosen—arthritis, poor grades, an unhappy marriage—and none of these are beyond the compassion of our God. Neither are they “crosses we take up daily.” The cross must be chosen and taken up as a denial of self in service to God. 

My cross is not the same as Jesus’ cross. Jesus’ cross was literal, and He died on it. My cross is the thing I choose—the thing I take up—for Jesus’ sake. My cross is made up of the things I do, not because I have to but because I choose to do them; because I believe it/they are part of God’s agenda for me. 

So as we move into Eastertide and live out of the power of forgiven sin and into the promise of eternal life, what will we choose to take up for Jesus’ sake? What is the hard thing in the world that Jesus is calling you to do each day for Him? He resolutely set His face toward Jerusalem. What thing or things will you resolutely take on for Him?