The Cross


Before The Crown



       "Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works." Matthew 16:24-27.    

     Here we have the plain statement of Christ that if we follow Him we must take up the cross. Self-denial and the cross lie directly in our pathway on our journey heavenward. The consequence of shunning the cross is found in the words of my text: "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it." The great infinite sacrifice was made that we might be saved. By coming from heaven to this earth Christ has made a way for our escape.    

     Our Saviour has represented His first advent, and the treatment He received, by the parable of the vineyard. "A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time." Luke 20:9. The account is continued in Luke 20:10-17. God first sent His prophets to ancient Israel, but their message was not heeded, and as a last resort He sent His Son, that the hearts of the people might be reached and be turned unto God; but they killed His Son. This was the work of Satan by the hands of those that he has gathered under his banner. Christ was "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Isaiah 53:3. What was it that brought such sorrow? It was not on His own account, but for the sins of the people. He realized their condition, and this was the reason that He felt such sorrow as He wept over Jerusalem and uttered the lamentable words, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Luke 13:34.    

     He does not say that they could not, but would not. How can we explain the treatment of Him who loved us to that extent that He laid down His life for us? This treatment was a marvel to the angels of heaven--to see the Creator of this world, the Majesty of heaven, treated with such contempt. His condescension is without parallel.  

     The souls of men are valued by the Son of God, and if we do not value eternal life sufficiently to make a sacrifice for it, then we shall lose eternal life. What is it to lose life? It is when the truth is clearly set before us and we refuse to accept it because a cross is involved. The Creator of heaven has a right to the faculties He has given us and it is for our own good and advantage that we give these powers to God and to His service.   

     Here is a business that man cannot give to others, but in which each individual has his own work to do. We need to give our hearts to God. To do this we shall meet with crosses. Nothing should stand in the way of duty. Even if losses in business should have to be made it should not keep us from discharging our duty. Our purpose should be to obey God so that Christ's death will not be in vain in our behalf. We must have the same integrity and principle that was found in Joseph and Daniel. Joseph was so established in principle that he could resist the great temptation that was brought upon him, because he had determined to obey God. 

3MR 93-95