Friday, April 6, 2012

Innocent Bystanders

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25)

It makes a difference where you stand. Sometimes if you are standing too close to the curb after a rainstorm, you may be drenched by a car splashing water out of the road. If you are standing too close to someone as they fall, you may be knocked down as well, kind of like a domino effect. Not too long ago I heard that someone was standing close to a target of a drive-by shooting. The bystander was injured along with the intended victim. Then you hear of the innocent bystander. Consider the following: When it comes to the Cross of Christ, are there any innocent people to be found close by?
To be a disciple of Jesus, there must be a cost. There is the cost of the cross...Someone has to carry it. To carry it one must touch it...and allow it to touch you. To feel the consider the reality. Jesus said that if any one followed Him, they must pick up their cross daily. That is a costly endeavor. The trials and tests that come from following Jesus are painful. But the cross was designed for crucifixion, not comfort. The glory of the cross is that God went there for us. And He wanted to. It was intentional and not an accidental circumstance. It was planned and purposeful. And God was the only innocent bystander.
Consider the cross...where Jesus, the Christ, the King of Glory died.
I. THE CROSS AFFECTS ALL THOSE WHO ENCOUNTER IT. The women who stood there were transfixed by the horror and drawn by the love. Even today, we are drawn to the cross. We cannot negotiate our way to God around it. We cannot bypass it. We must go to the cross. We are changed by it. We must reject it as completely unnecessary or accept the reality that it is the place of the execution of God's judgment. Our sin nature brings with it the endebted judgment of a death sentence.
II. THE CROSS AFFECTS THE ONE WHO IS CRUCIFIED. The one on the cross does not survive the experience. There are no living survivors of the cross. When we pick up the cross, it is to carry it to the place where we die.
III. THE CROSS AFFECTS THOSE WHO WITNESS THE CRUCIFIXION. When we witness people die, it makes a difference to our lives. When we understand that Jesus was crucified as an innocent Person, we are moved to examine why. See His love for us displayed on the cross and you are never the same. We become witnesses to the scene. It's as though we were there...and if we are in Christ today...we were...we are...and we always will be with Him...where He is.
IV. OBEDIENCE TO GOD IS COSTLY TO EVERYONE AROUND US. Obedience to the will of God was costly to those who loved Jesus. Obedience to God will be costly to those who love us. We cannot obey God and things remain comfortable for those who share our lives.
V. DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD WILL COST US MORE. There are no innocent bystanders at the cross. Not then...and not now. The only innocent One was Jesus. On the cross even He lost His innocence...He became guilty as sin...mine...and yours.
Thank you Lord...for your Life...and mine. Thank you for Your love.