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DEVOTIONS WITH PASTOR BOB The Road to The Cross “The Cross of Suffering” (Lesson #1)

DEVOTIONS WITH PASTOR BOB

The Road to The Cross

“The Cross of Suffering” (Lesson #1)

 

Worth it all~~Song by Rita Springer

https://youtu.be/BQVmR0jV52A

 

 

2 CORINTHIANS 4:8-18 (NLT) 

 

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 

 

We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 

 

10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

 

11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 

 

12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

 

13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”

 

14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 

 

15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

 

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 

 

17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 

 

18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.

 

For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

 

         

 

We are invited to willingly take up our crosses and follow Christ daily, fully aware that the eternal gains far outweigh any earthly suffering and loss.

 

 

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:10-11(NLT),

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!”

 

 

Sometimes carrying one’s cross and following Christ means trials and suffering.

Jesus, because of the joy awaiting him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame. (Hebrews 12:2)

And God’s Word reminds us that there is joy even in our suffering.

The joy comes when we see through the suffering to what will be, just like Jesus did.

 

 

The Apostle Peter wrote 1Peter 1:6-7 (NLT),

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

So, when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

 

 

We are invited to willingly take up our crosses and follow Christ daily, fully aware that eternal gains far outweigh earthly suffering and loss.

 

 

Illustration

There was a man who had a full left-hip replacement.

The two or three years leading up to that surgery were not pleasant and eventually he became so miserable he absolutely had to do something.

He was very pleased with his surgeon and he felt he was in very competent hands.

However, when he woke up after the surgery, while he was relieved of one kind of pain, he experienced a whole new level of post-surgery pain.

Physical therapy was prescribed, which meant a series of exercises, one of which was leg lifts.

He was to lift his leg off the bed approximately a foot to eighteen inches, hold it to the count of ten, and let it down slowly.

All of the muscles on his left hip had been cut and repaired during the surgery.

He absolutely could not lift his left leg off the bed, so the therapist would place one hand under his heel and the other under his calf and with the therapist assistance him as he did the leg lifts.

It really hurt bad!

He thought he would never be able to do ten leg lifts.

But eventually he could rip off thirty leg lifts with little effort and no pain.

Surgery and rehab were a challenge, but he went through it, because he was making a deliberate effort to see through his suffering.

Yes, it hurt and yes, it took time for healing and recovery.

But he was looking through his pain and suffering to a time when he would walk a mile, climb steps, and navigate uneven terrain.

 

 

There was a study done of hip-replacement patients, comparing those who simply did their exercises and those who did their exercises and walked.

And it was found that those who did their exercises and walked, could eventually walk the way they used to walk.

When my grandmother fell and broke her arm in her senior years, she would not work through the pain of therapy and her arm became crippled.

Getting through suffering and pain is about seeing through it to what will be.

When facing suffering… see through it!

 

 

Jesus told his disciples that He would suffer many terrible things, that He would be killed, and three days later He would rise again. (Mark 8:31)

 

 

HE WAS SEEING THE OUTCOME AND IT GAVE HIM GRACE TO ENDURE.

 

 

Jesus was having a conversation with his disciples as they were walking along.

In Mark 8:27 Jesus asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

In other words, what are people saying about me?

And the disciples replied, “Well, some say you are John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

 

 

SO, THEN JESUS ASKED, “WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?”

And Peter said, “You are the Messiah.”

In recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, they were grasping hold of their Messianic hope for the day when “the Messiah” would come in power.

How the Messiah would break the bonds of Roman oppression, and restore the fortunes of the people of Israel, along with their national pride, and prominence in the world.

The disciples were thinking of the fulfillment of the prophecy that we cite during the Seasons of Advent and Christmas from Isaiah 9:6-7,

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders.

These would be the Messiah’s royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end.

He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David.”

So, when Jesus, “The Messiah,” starts talking of his impending suffering and death, his disciples did not take the news well.

They did not take it well in part because they did not hear everything Jesus said.

Jesus said that He as the Son of Man, would suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law.” (Luke 9:22)

 

 

THE DISCIPLES HEARD JESUS SAY THAT HE WOULD BE KILLED…

But they did not hear him say that three days later he would rise again.

Admittedly, Jesus was not at all enthusiastic about the suffering and dying stuff, but Jesus did see through it.

Jesus could see through the suffering, through the pain, through the dying, and through being buried, to his resurrection.

 

 

1Peter 1:6-7 (NLT),

6 – “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 

7 - These trials will show that your faith is genuine.

It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

So, when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

 

 

The disciples only saw suffering and death.

Jesus saw suffering, death, and RESURRECTION.

Jesus saw through the suffering and death to the resurrection!

 

 

We too can choose to see through the gloom and despair of any moment, and be assured that, “All things do indeed work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

 

 

PRAYER

Dear Father you have laid out before us a glorious future. We see a glimpse of this future in the scriptures. Help us to keep remember this during the hard times we face. It will be worth it all when we finally are in your glorious kingdom. In Jesus name we pray, amen!

 

 

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