Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Mount of Calvary

When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One." The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!" Now there was also an inscription above Him, "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? "And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT." Having said this, He breathed His last.  Luke 23:33-46

The fourth mountain we follow Christ up shows the sacrifice required in true discipleship. The true cost of discipleship was seen by those disciples who stood at Calvary.  There they witnessed the high price that was demanded for the freedom of the souls of men.  

Walking up this mount the disciples realized that commitment to Christ had had a price...and the price was their lives.  They saw the rejection and humiliation with which the world would denounce them.  They saw how quickly those who had shouted “Hosanna” took up the cry “Crucify Him!”  Standing with Christ they feared for their very lives and even publicly denounced Him.

To the Christian who trudges up the Mt. of Olives there is the recognition that to submit to the will of God is the beginning and not the end of battle.  Listening to the Sermon on the Mount brings hope; standing in awe before the transfiguration of Christ brings excitement; praying in the Garden of Gethsemane makes us feel good about our commitment; but Mt. Calvary’s cross is humbling beyond words.

Calvary was neither easy nor pleasant for Christ even though He knew that God had ordained it; and what God ordains, He accomplishes.  It is only through His power and grace that His full will can be accomplished.  It is in the performance of God's will that His power becomes precious.

If all you know of Christianity is blessing without burden and reward without responsibility, then you may have missed Mount Calvary.  These disciples later took up their own crosses as God led them and then sacrificed as God demanded.  They conquered the world with love and proclaimed the message of hope to a lost and dying world.  

For every believer there is a mountain where we learn of Christ, a mountain where we experience His glory and a mountain where we make our commitment to lay down our lives.  Yet all are futile actions except there be a Mt. Calvary.  

“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.”

Scripture to Claim:
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)

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