Daily Archives: January 20, 2015

Judge Not: The Upshot of Carrying One’s Cross

         Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24]

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         Real Christians, like their Lord, always end up getting crucified. Let Him explain:

         “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

         Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

         Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” [Matthew 5:10-12]

         According to these difficult teachings of the Lord, the following are the real credentials of real believers:

(1) Real Christians will be persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

(2) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be insulted.

(3) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be persecuted.

(4) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be falsely accused of all kinds of evil.

         The Lord then taught that real believers are not to strike back in kind, but take the shots that come their way.

         This means that when one is insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused for being a real Christian, one is to take the insults, persecution, and false accusations without returning insults, persecution, and false accusations in kind. One must not throw another log on the fire, thus escalating the war of words, but pour water on it instead.

         This is certainly a form of crucifixion.

         Keep in mind that the Lord was even being insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused while He hung on the cross:

THE MATTHEW ACCOUNT:

         And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

         In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

         The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words. [Matthew 27:39-44]

THE LUKE ACCOUNT:

         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.” [Luke 23:35-41]

         And there’s the point.

         If the Lord took all of that abuse while hanging on a rough wooden cross with spike nails in His hands and feet and suffering excruciating pain most of us will never know and still managed to say, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), then it is certainly possible to obey His teachings regarding insults and false accusations.

LIKE ONE FROM WHOM MEN HIDE THEIR FACE

         We must know that He was insulted repeatedly all the live long day throughout His entire life and especially during His ministry. He had ample reason to strike back in kind but never did, not even from the cross.

         Did He have the ability? Most certainly. Could He have climbed down off the cross? Without doubt. Could He have whipped any of those accusing pansies in a fist fight? I have no doubt He could have.

         But He didn’t. And it takes a MUCH bigger man to take abuse without returning it. He took it all and never struck back because He had a MUCH higher goal than simply winning stupid arguments or defending one’s “honor” or reputation:

         He wanted to ransom the souls of humanity.

         “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

         “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:44-48]

         The Lord Jesus not only taught this truth, He lived it. And He commanded all of His followers to do exactly the same.

ANTI-DISCIPLES

         Yet, “Christians” are some of the most easily offended people on the planet. It does not take much for certain “Christians” to become extremely angry. There are those who insist they are Christians but are as judgmental and condemning as the day is long. Some will betray another in a heartbeat.

         For many of these there is simply no impulse control whatsoever. The devil can play them like a drum whenever he feels like it. They are ready to fight in a split second. What is more, such people are proud of their desire and ability to insult and accuse in kind, not knowing or apparently caring that they are doing the devil’s work, especially if they engage in the inevitable maiming and murdering that results from being offended.

         Others may exhibit great impulse control and give forth the appearance of godliness. That is, until they feel slighted in some way and then all hell breaks loose. As long as they are never challenged there is no reaction, though many such perceived “challenges” are never personal and have no bad intent.

        They may think they are defending the truth, but they are actually egregiously violating the Lord’s commands, especially the love commandment.

         But for the real Christian, when one is insulted and falsely accused, often by other Christians of course, one does not strike back in kind though one may certainly want to, and though one may certainly do so very effectively.

         Instead, one must allow himself or herself to be crucified.

         It is the picture of a crazed little runt poking a giant hibernating grizzly bear with a stick and continuing to do so since he is getting away with it. In time he grows ever more bold. But the day will come when the bear will wake up. At that point the little man better have an exit plan.

JUDGMENT LOOMS

         All those who rejected and insulted and made fun of the Messiah when He came found out forty years later that crucifying Him actually meant they were destroying themselves, and the same thing eventually happens to all who persecute the Lord’s children. It’s what happens when the cure is rejected.

         Better to judge ourselves than judge others:

         Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? [2 Corinthians 13:5]

         Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

         But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

         But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

         There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

         For there is no partiality with God. [Romans 2:1-11]

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         “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” [John 12:47] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.