April 22, 2011
The public ministry of Christ began when He was thirty years old. His first recorded miracle was performed at a wedding. For many, this marks the beginning of His public ministry. His ministry was one of healing for those who were broken and downtrodden. Wherever He went He attracted crowds. Unfortunately, most of the people were interested in His miracles and not in a personnel relationship with the miracle worker.
When the excitement of the healing passed and Christ talked of the ultimate cost of following Him, the crowds quickly thinned. This falling away is graphically illustrated with the attitude change that took place between the trip into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the mob’s cry for crucifixion a few short days latter. How quickly they passed from cheering to jeering the Savior.
From the beginning He was a thorn in the side of the established religious leaders. Partly because they felt threatened by His teaching and partly because He did not resemble the Messiah they expected. They followed his ministry closely, not for the purpose of learning, but for the purpose of attacking him. In the end they felt they had won the struggle because Christ’s ministry ended in what appeared to be complete failure. His ministry of love and healing was rewarded with a painful trip to the cross.
Little has changed through the centuries. During this Easter season, people who wear the name Christian will gather all around the world to celebrate the resurrection of the Christ. They will recognize that something is missing in their life. They will desperately long for the peace, joy and abundant life that Christ has promised in the Gospels. However, when they are confronted with the high cost of discipleship, when they realize that they can not experience the fullness of the joy, peace and abundance that Christ wishes them to have without embracing the Cross and dying to self, they walk away and say, “This is too hard.”
We settle for what man can do. We settle for what the world offers. We settle for less than what God promises because we are not willing to embrace the cross. C.S. Lewis explains it this way in “The Weight of Glory”. “Indeed, if we consider the staggering nature of the rewards promised us in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink, sex, and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. We are like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
This Easter do not settle for less that God would have you to have. Trust in Him; embrace the Cross; and believe that He will give you all that He has said.