Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Crucified with Christ – It WILL be HARD (5-7)

Loneliness is hard, but injustice and being comfortless and losing our pride can be even harder. Being “Crucified with Christ” sometimes requires one of these or all three. Are you willing to go through these?

5. You will constantly be on the witness stand

Do you ever feel that the world just stares at you and tries to figure out what you are doing wrong so they can proclaim it to the rest of the world?  J Ok, I’m sure it’s not bad  but then again, they are watching!  Jesus was on the witness stand.

In Matthew 26:57-67 it says “57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 63 But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. 64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. 67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,

They couldn’t find ANY fault in Jesus, other then the fact that He was claiming to be God.  He was ready, however, to give an answer even when they were twisting and finding fault with whatever He said.  Your words will be twisted as well, so be prepared.   Sometimes it’s better to say nothing.  Notice that Jesus knew when to not give an answer and when to just be silent.
I Peter 3:15-16 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
We will be held under the strictest scrutiny by non-believers and believers alike BUT with this trial comes opportunity to be a shining light for Jesus.

6. You must “Go Outside the Camp”

This next step is one of the hardest steps.  It’s one thing to be persecuted and alone, but for us to take the next step to put ourselves out of our comfort zone is a courageous and hard task.  Jesus knew that what he was doing was going to be uncomfortable.
Hebrews 13:12-14 says “12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

Jesus bore shame and disgrace; we must be willing to face to the same.  He suffered outside of Jerusalem (at Gethsemane.) W e must be willing to leave the comfort of home to go even where we know we will be abused and persecuted for the sake of the cross.  Jesus was unashamed of us.  Are we unashamed of Him?

Do we want to be conformed to the image of Christ or do we want comfort?

7. There will be times when your dignity is forfeited.

Doing the “right”eous thing can be really hard sometimes and embarrassing as well.  When you have to leave that party, walk out of that room, stop a conversation and stand up for what is right, it’s not always easy.  It was even harder for Jesus. When He bore our sins His dignity was stripped from him, literally. I n Matthew 27:27-31 we see some really tough things that He had to go through, did you know…
  • He was stripped naked in front of a large group
  • He was given clothes that were to mock Him
  • They placed a thorny “mock” crown on His head (embarrassing as well as extremely painful) and a reed in his hand.
  • They mockingly bowed to Him
  • They spit in his face
  • They hit Him in the face
This was all before they tortured him on the cross and friends,  He took it all for us.

So when you make a stand for Christ, when your dignity is stripped, when you are mocked or spit at, remember Christ did this all for you.  Beth Moore says “We need to learn to live in the shadow of God, because in those moments when we are vulnerable and exposed the “shadow of the Almighty” may be the only thing covering us.”

Friends, it’s not easy to be laughed at, to have our words twisted and to be persecuted for the cause of Christ, BUT there can be great results that can come out of the suffering. We will finish up with that tomorrow. 

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