Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Cross

By Odon Bulamba

The Word of God is important for the brain and soul and spirit. To work with God, the Word of God is a passport that you use when you travel. To go to heaven you will need to have knowledge of Word of God and understand it and practice it and on top of that you will need a visa which is salvation.  We get salvation through the cross. Without the cross, we couldn’t have salvation and couldn’t be here today.

It is a big shame today when you talk about the cross in the Christian community, people beliEve that it is only a symbol to show that you are a Christian or a sign so people will know that this is a church. Only a few will try to understand the cross with eternal life.  Jesus lives in eternity and existed for many years but somewhere He came down to earth for 33 years only.  He left eternity and put it aside and came down here to spend 33 years and for those years, He worked for only 3 years.  He did almost nothing for 30 years and for the last 3 years He worked hard and led us to the cross and ended his life on that cross.

Why did Jesus accept to be crucified, lose his dignity on the cross while in the Old Testament to be purified people just offered a lamb, maybe a dove and that animal only needed to be killed and the blood shed but didn’t need to be on a cross for people to be forgiven? Jesus not only had to be sacrificed but also had to die on the cross.

The Syrians started the cross.  If you were a bad person you were put on the cross by tying your hands and feet to the cross.  Romans decided that tying the hands was not enough but to nail the person and that way the person will suffer more and people will fear to make the same mistake.

How much were people fearing to sin?  Jesus who did not sin at all, who did not deserve to be crucified but they decided that this was the only punishment to give this innocent person.  He didn’t murder or rape but was given a punishment greater than the lamb that was sacrificed.

Cross has a meaning.  What we have to discover is the glory beyond that symbol.  Many Christians do not have a good knowledge of the cross and are limited in what they know.  What is the mystery of the cross, what is hidden behind the cross? 

Mathew 10:35-40

If you don’t take your cross and follow Jesus, you are not (according to the Bible) worthy of Jesus.  You can be saved and beliEve you are someone important and have all the gifts and talents but if you don’t take your cross and follow Jesus, then you are not worthy of Jesus.  What about all that I have done in my life and now you are telling me to take my cross and follow you before I am worthy to be known or called by you?

What is a cross?  When someone tells you to take your cross, what is your cross?  Maybe some will say it is your problems.  Others say, the pendant on my chain.  Others, say my family, others say my spirit or soul.  If you don’t know how to define your cross, how will you follow Jesus?  When you follow Jesus without your cross, you did half of the condition, the other half where is it, where is the cross?

We often forget to talk about our own cross.  We know clearly that the cross that Jesus carried looked like this.  What does our cross look like, metal, wood?  If I discover what my cross looks like it, it will be easier to carry the cross and follow Jesus.

Once in my dream I was swimming and waves came and I asked God to help me, “I want to hold your hand so I cannot die,” but the person standing there said, “do you want to hold my hand in order to live?  No I am not happy to do that for you because you are asking it wrongly.  You should ask me to hold your hand so that I will nEver let you go no matter what comes”. If we ask for us to hold his hand, we might let go.

We need to be taught what our cross is so we know what to carry.

The story of the cross began in Genesis.  The cross goes hand in hand with the last judgement.  Genesis 3:1, story of Adam and Eve in the garden.  The serpent walked in.  God allowed it to be there.  When the serpent arrived, the first thing the serpent did was to talk to Eve the wife of Adam.  Conversation is good but the more we talk the more we create serious problems.  When the servant spoke to Eve, he came straight to the word, “Eve you have fruit here but you are not allowed to eat fruit from these trees”.  “No, we are allowed to eat from all these trees but not from the one that was there”.

Eve knew very well the Word of God and the command that was given to her but starting the conversation to the wrong person was a danger, it was opening the door for sin to enter her life.  Maybe Eve forgot that serpent was telling her something that contradicted Word of God.  If you eat the fruit of this you will become like God and your eyes opened and you become stronger.  Sometimes when you start the conversation with someone, you have to know the limit.  When a person contradicts what God has told you, that is the time to remember that this isn’t what you are supposed to carry, you are only supposed to carry the Word of God. 

By carrying on the conversation, Eve took the fruit because she wanted to be like God.  She ate the fruit.  When you sit down sometimes, God has told you that you are saved and you have gifts but sometimes something comes in your mind and starts to contradict what you know, “am I really saved, do I really belong to Jesus, am I worthy to be called a Christian?”  A battle of conversation with yourself may mislead you and cause you to sin to satisfy your thoughts.

When God came down to find Adam and Eve, the first question was, “where are you?”  They tried to cover themselves and hide themselves because they were naked.  They didn’t say, “Because we ate the fruit or because the serpent offered the fruit and we ate it”.  They tried to find different reasons that were different from what God was after.

When God approaches you and asks, “Where are you?” Do you have the courage to answer, “here I am,” or do you keep silent.  When God asks, “Why do you hide yourself?” Do you say, “Because I am naked,” or “because satan tried to pull me away from you”. You may try to cover your nakedness or paint your sin and hide yourself and believe no one can see you but God loves us and continues to call us, “where are you my daughter?”

God is shouting and it is our responsibility to answer.  That is part of the cross.  You know who you are with all your weaknesses and all your spiritual problems, “here is my cross, here I am.  Your Word of God and all that you have told me to do and I couldn’t is part of your cross and I follow you because I want to repent”.

God forgave Adam and Eve without them repenting.  They kept pointing their fingers at others.  Men want to blame their wives.  The wife also blamed the serpent.  Why not to say, “yes, I ate it,” and repent? When you talk about your cross, you have to remember that it is heavy.  The fact that the cross was heavy, Jesus fell down and someone had to help him.  The cross is heavy and not light.  It is something that requires you to give effort.  You have to invest strength to carry it otherwise you will surrender.

You are following Jesus and you are carrying all your heaviness.  Jesus is not pulling you or helping you to carry the cross, it’s your responsibility to carry it.  When you have something heavy to carry, what do you do?  You have to know the right position before lifting something heavy to avoid hurting yourself.  Before you start your journey, you have to know the right position.  You can’t drag it behind you because that is not to carry.  You can’t get someone to carry with you because you have to carry your own cross.

When you have problems, you ask others to advise you.  You have something that is part of your cross.  When God says it’s time to pray, do you rush to pray? When God says it’s time to worship or there is a danger, do we rush?  Sometimes we feel annoyed because we have church and it disturbs all that we do. This shows that we start to lose the commitment to carry the cross.

We sang, “the Potter’s Hand”.  If you read the story from the Bible about the potter’s hand, he will use the clay how he likes and if he doesn’t like it he can destroy it and make something else.  If he gives you something and you don’t use it properly, he can take it from you and give it to someone else.  If you are not productive, Jesus is walking but you are lagging behind, “oh I’m tired, you go without me, I can’t make any further steps from here”.  When your child is calling you, you rush and in the same way God rushes to you but when God calls us, what do we do? 

We need hands to grab the cross and arms that are strong.  What do your arms do for you?  Your arms clean the rest of the body.  When you want to help someone, your arms will do that role.  When you want to lift something, your arms will do that.  Even going to the toilet, you will use your arms.  If your arms can play that role that is important for your body, how often have they complained to you that you are tired now?  They don’t, they just do it and respect you without discussion.

The only time that they will be weak is when you give them something heavy and then they need support.  We are the arms of the Lord Jesus.  We are the arms because He asks us to go everywhere in the world to teach others and make them disciples.  To make someone a disciples is hard work.  The left and right arm support each other to do everything.  When you are itchy, your fingers will rush there to scratch.  When you are crying, your hands will wipe your tears.  Why can’t you use your legs to do that? 

Your cross should be carried with good determination of the arms which is the willingness of your life.  If you will, you will do it, to be determined.  I will play the role of the arms and carry my cross.  The cross is first your soul that you carry on you.  If you don’t understand your soul, you will never understand God or the last judgement or the mystery of God. 

Soul is you and me.  Who are you? By understanding your soul, you will understand the cross that Jesus has given you.  Better to lose everything than to lose your soul.  Accept to kick away everything including your family in order to follow Jesus.

Michelle’s family came and it was a good joy for the reunion.  Normal.  But for this God, in order to carry your cross, sometimes you have to leave your whole family aside and carry only your soul.

Imagine if you organise a party and invite people and then Jesus tells you to leave now and preach on the street.  Will you have the courage to leave?  For God that is the way and we need sometimes to accept to leave everything in order to follow him: that is the meaning of the cross.

At Golgotha there were 3 crosses.  Which one is the one we are going for?  We don’t want to be mistaken and look at the one on the left or the right.  We need to know how to differentiate the right cross to follow Jesus.

When Jesus carried his cross, how many disciples were following him of the 12?  Only 1.  Whenever someone carries a cross don’t be shocked to see everyone running away.  When you feel lonely and all have departed from you, will you endure or will you say you are tired and ask God to bring everyone back?  If you are saved for others, forget about it.