June 25, 2019
Good Morning Fellow Travelers,
Read: Matthew 26:36-56
“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” Hebrews 5:7-8
The battle that our Lord faced over the cross was won in Gethsemane. Hallelujah! There He sweat, as it were, drops of blood as He struggled through to a full surrender to His Father’s will. Ponder the struggle He faced there, and the agony He bore to face the cross for us. How is it that He then calls us to take up our crosses daily, deny self and follow Him? Must we face the agony of the cross every day?
The apostle Paul answers this question triumphantly in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Full surrender brings about death to our carnal nature and new birth into Jesus. There is a sense in which the cross-bearing that Jesus did for us does not need to be repeated. Because of Jesus’ victory over the cross, there is present with us as believers a power for victory over our sin nature. We walk in confidence that Christ is continually sanctifying us.
II Corinthians 3:18 explains this process of renewing. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
When our path leads through harsh adversity, the hardships do not destroy us, because of Christ’s triumph over the cross of death. How the struggle rages when we face suffering. We sometimes wonder, “What is the meaning of our suffering?” One answer is that God desires that we draw closer in a deeper surrender. He wants to use us for a greater purpose that He has in mind for us.
Affliction is really His great loving kindness to us. The Psalmist’s testimony is this: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. . . . Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” Psalm 119:71, 75
Can you say to the Father in surrender as Jesus did, “Not my will, but Thine be done”?
~~ James Baer