A Cross

low angle photography of cross on top of mountain

You and I, we were called for this present age. It had our names written on it. This time, this season: These particular wars and battles and sins. Listed right up there with the rulers of the nations, the sicknesses that rage, the political agendas that will prosper or fall, and the weather that will literally rain down, there it is: our name. My name is written right there in that year, in that month, on that day. It was written for me to be born. Born for such a time as this. 

Yours too. Your name was written for such a time and season as this. You were meant to work, and live and love and give in this present age. This is both a great comfort, but also a little scary. What a blessing that we are called to be the Body of Christ and not just little lone reeds waving in a hurricane!

 The Lord knew what we would need to live in this evil present age: Most importantly He sent the Holy Spirit to abide with His people and give all that they would need. He gave us the bread of life in His Word, to call us to Himself each day. He gave us the Church to hold us up and keep us, to equip and help us.  

As I face this present age as a follower of Jesus, I find myself turning to that first group of followers that made up that first church. Specifically, the disciples who had followed Him closely for 3 years and then all of a sudden everything changed for them. When Jesus defeated sin and death, He single-handedly changed everything from past tense and future tense to a very hard present tense. For those first disciples, this was the time for which they were called. 

In those next few years, these men would set about laying the foundation of a church that you and I stand upon to this day!

God made man to not be alone and ever since the very beginning humans have stuck to this desire for family, a group to be a part of. Even in the individualistic Western world, we long for those connections of family and friendship. So, for 3 years those men had stood side by side, learning together from their Lord, enjoying a kind of God-made-family. Sure, they had fought about which one would be the cream of the crop, but most of the time they had the comfort of each other’s company especially when Jesus said something confusing. There is just nothing quite so lovely as looking over at your brother across the table and knowing he doesn’t get it either. Whew! At least we’re in this together! 

And now everything was changing. Each one of those men who had walked with Jesus was about to take a new and very specific step in a different direction. A different direction towards the very same goal: You’ll learn in your church history that each one of the 12 along with many other disciples would all end up dying for Jesus (all except for John, but we’ll get to that!). Each one has a unique and special story of how they, too, took up their cross for Jesus. 

All but John. 

  In John 21: 22,  I love how, Peter after Jesus tells him what he’s being called to do, gives his ever so relatable response of, “But what about him?!” turning to point at John. It feels like a deflection but I think more than that, he also probably wanted the comfort. 

There will be times and season the Lord may allow you to walk along with 12 other guys, all tightly gleaning from the King. But at some point, He will call you, ask you to do something with all that he’s taught you. It will be unique and individually yours.

He will ask you to carry something. It will be fitted with your gifts and strengths in mind, your times and seasons will be considered, and your resources will be weighed into account. It will be oh, so suited for you and you alone. It will be a cross. 

For John, he was to slowly live through the news of the deaths and tortures of each of his Spiritual brothers. In the end, he would be the only one of the original 12 left, sitting in a prison probably wondering why God hadn’t just let him die. It would be then that the Lord would reveal future times and seasons to John, a revelation so great we’d all still be marveling over it to this very day. John would write it all down for us. John was a communicator suited for the cross he was given. It would be his cross to carry. 

Each and every one of us was made to uniquely die to self each day. So often we want to deflect, or at the very least have a little company in our cross. “What about them, God?” But in the end it will always just be me and Jesus standing together, looking up at a cross. A cross that He died on first, a cross that He made just for me, so that I could see Him a little more clearly. 

Recently I had my own moment of Jesus asking me to do something. All I wanted to do was to turn and say, “But can’t they come along for this?” But no. In this case, I was asked to set aside the comfort of community. At least for this season, I was being called out to do something new and scary. Of course, there would be help along the way, but for now, it was just Jesus and me, looking up at a Cross. 

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