The Fellowship of the Cross

As Easter approaches I am reminded of the lifestyle Jesus adopted, the same lifestyle He calls us to:

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).

We live in common purpose with Jesus in a fellowship of the Cross, a fellowship in which we serve others as a natural outcome of our desire to serve the Lord with all of our heart and soul (Joshua 22:5).

Jesus’ path to the cross was not a resistant one, but a resolute one. He served not begrudgingly, but willingly and joyfully. “For the joy set before him,” we read in Hebrews 12:2, “[Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We know what the Cross looked like for Jesus; this Friday we will reflect on His profound sacrifice. But if our path doesn’t include a torturous death, what does the fellowship of the Cross look like for us?

  1. We serve as Jesus served.
    Jesus’ perfect existence is impossible for us, but with the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance, we can grow in His likeness more each day. We start with service.
  2. We deny ourselves as Jesus denied Himself.
    This is only possible as we emulate Jesus and His purpose: to glorify His Father. Jesus set the example, and He has called us to follow Him to the Cross (Luke 9:23).
  3. We suffer for Christ’s sake.
    This reality is increasingly common for our persecuted brothers and sisters. We must not forget them and it is important to learn from them.
  4. We experience joy and peace and hope.
    Regardless of our circumstances, including persecution and even martyrdom, these things are miraculously available to us by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

Here is my prayer today:

Dear Lord,

Thank you for completing your work on the Cross so that I can have fellowship with You in glory for eternity! This year I want to join you and be counted as one in the Fellowship of the Cross.

I cannot do this in my own strength, not even in the smallest way. I need you to give me the strength to joyfully serve You, to serve others, and to deny myself–even if it means to suffer. I am deeply inspired and challenged by my brothers and sisters who live this way every day, never knowing if this day is their last.

I want to please You and bring honor to Your name. Grant me the grace to follow You with all of my heart, mind, strength, and soul.

Amen

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