Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Journey to the cross (through a mother's eyes) - Have you been to the cross?

Acts 1:14 "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers."

Today's post concludes our study of Mary's journey to the cross. We have discovered that her journey began as a glorious series of revelations to her about Jesus' identity and mission. Shortly after His birth, the reality of the cross itself is interwoven into the cobblestones of the road to the cross. God's glory and the cross go hand-in-hand. In yesterday's post we witnessed Mary's arrival at the foot of the cross, where she heard the voice of God in the flesh speaking to her and teh Apostle John. Today we discover that the journey to the cross for Mary was not yet done. What was in one sense the end of a journey was in reality the beginning of a new life for Mary. As the Bible often does, the significance of meaning and purpose is not found in one's self-exaltation but insignificance in light of God's revealed purposes. Today we will conclude this series by noting how Mary evidenced having been to the cross and thus ask the question: have you been to the cross? 

A journey to the cross results in following the risen Christ
When we consider the words of today's opening verse in Acts 1:14, we witness the 120, including Mary, "devoting themselves to prayer" in the upper room. Why is that? Jesus had given his disciples final instructions in Acts 1:8 prior to His ascension - "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even tothe remotest part of the earth.” The command of the Risen Savior had been given to the Apostles and repeated to His followers. Mary is mentioned one final time in Acts 1:14 to reveal how willing a person is to follow the Risen Christ after having been to the cross. In all reality, I imagine Mary never forgot the final time she saw Jesus on the cross. Undoubtedly she may had been among those 500 or so witnesses who saw a glimpse of Him in one of his twelve recorded post-resurrection appearances, otherwise she would not present in the upper room awaiting the arrival of the Holy Spirit. 

Have you journeyed to the cross
As we begin to draw this series to a close, we bring the final life applications to you the reader. Like Mary, have you made a journey to the cross? The journey, like hers, has a glorious beginning. Jesus Himself states that no one can see the Kingdom of God lest He be born again. (John 3:3-6) To be born again means being called and transformed on the inside by the Holy Spirit and trusting in Jesus as Savior, Lord and Treasure. (Ephesians 2:8-9; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23). The glorious beginning of the journey to the cross is accompanied by the revelation of the cross itself. Only the Holy Spirit can show you the meaning of the cross through the scriptures, just as He did so with Mary. All of this of course takes place in the instant the Gospel is brought to you and you respond in saving faith. 

Like Mary, this all occurs when you hear the voice of God Himself call to you at the foot of the cross. Whoever you were before is no more. Only at the cross can we have dialogue with God. These first three thoughts: a glorious beginning, the glory of the cross being revealed to you and you being brought to the foot of the cross all occur in a miraculous instant. But now the final thought of following after the risen Christ, just as Mary did so in Acts 1:14, entails going from saving faith until faith is made sight in Heavenly glory. Throughout the rest of the Christian life, the believer is ever following the risen Christ, never forgetting the cross from whence they came and yet looking to the day when they will see the Risen Christ. My question to you is: have you been to the cross? God will not meet you except at that place. As we close, I leave you with Romans 6:8-13
"Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." 

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