The Journey to the Cross
Bryan Craig

Day One
And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
It’s Easter week, Holy Week.  It is the week when Christians all over the world turn their eyes, hearts and spirits toward the Cross.  For most of us, who have matured as followers of Christ, and who have begun to walk with Him more intimately, Easter has become our favorite holiday.  We honor Jesus’ amazing act of sacrifice, which has such significance and power.  You may have participated in the Lenten practice of giving up something dear to you for this period of days so that every time its absence causes you pain, you remember Jesus’ pain on the Cross.  I think this is a good idea, but the Cross is truly something we will never fully appreciate until we join Jesus in Heaven.
Jesus came to this world so He could die for it.  This is the good news of the gospel.  He told His disciples of the plan many times, but they never seemed to understand until after He died and rose from the dead.  It is interesting that the incident where Jesus raised his friend, Lazarus, from the dead happened right before Jesus would experience His own death and resurrection.  What an intriguing bit of foreshadowing!  Jesus is talking with Martha, Lazarus’ sister, and He tells her that her brother “will rise again.”
Then, He says:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NIV
Then, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  He had been dead for four days so there was no doubt about his death.  It was a literal and figurative moment.  Jesus is the resurrection and the life!  Death has no mastery over The Master.  He holds the keys to life and death.  He shows all the people that though we may die a physical death, He can raise the dead.  But we also know that He was talking about eternal life for all who believe in Him.  And our eternal life came at a price…His life.  Isaiah prophesied about our Lord:
 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Let’s take up our crosses this week and journey with Christ toward Golgatha, giving Him our thoughts and our worship.