Thoughts from Pastor Webb. “21Now Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and the soldiers forced him to carry the cross of Jesus.22They brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means The Place of the Skull. 23There they offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it.24And they crucified Him.” (Mark 15:21-24) While preaching to my congregation on Sunday October 2, 2022 the Holy Spirit revealed to me a picture of true biblical discipleship. I did not study it, nor was I ever taught it in all my years of sitting under biblical teaching. I have read this passage many times but never has this revelation hit me as it did that morning. It’s been in my spirit to write this devotional teaching since then but I have procrastinated. This morning I was awaken around 4:30 am and this was the first thought that came to my mind. So I want to share with you what God revealed to me about Jesus type discipleship. Looking at the text in Mark 15 we see Jesus was on his way to be killed (crucified). On the way to Golgotha, an innocent individual that was minding his own business and passing through was picked out by the Roman soldiers and forced to carry a heavy timber cross. The gospel writer Luke put it this way 26As the soldiers led Him away, they seized Simon of Cyrene on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him to carry behind Jesus. (Chapter 23) It was here the Lord showed me true biblical discipleship. Several observations about true biblical discipleship.
At the heart of Biblical discipleship is a cross. A cross in Biblical time was a symbol of death. It was this instrument of death the Romans used to exact capital punishment. It was painful and an agonizing slow death. It was the cross where the incarnate (in flesh) God paid the price for you and I. He gave the ultimate earthly experience (death) so that we can experience the ultimate eternal experience: eternal life with God on a new earth. (Revelation 21:5) He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Simon of Cyrene life was interrupted. His course of life was altered. He was headed toward his agenda. He had no idea he would be chosen that day to bear a heavy cross. He had to sacrifice whatever he had planned for his life that day. His life was forever changed. He took part in the working of salvation for all humanity and didn’t realize it. Simon’s life at that moment was not his. He had a cross to bear. But who’s cross? The cross he was bearing was not his. The cross he was called to carry was a cross that was marked for the savior of the world. There was nothing special about Simon that caused him to be picked out over all others… he was chosen. This instrument of death was laid on him and he had to carry it all the way regardless of what plans or appointments he had at that hour. While Simon was carrying Jesus cross, biblical discipleship cannot be carried out without our personal cross. Without our lives being disrupted on our way to our life’s agenda and we being willing to accept that, you will never understand biblical discipleship. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24
3 The most revealing part of this revelation is that Simon was following behind Jesus. Jesus, bloody and beaten staggered toward the hill of crucifixion; Simon followed him. Simon may not have known the exact location of their destination he had to simply keep his eyes on whichever way Jesus led him. Notice Jesus was going to die and Simon was following him to the place of death. The definition of biblical Discipleship! Following Jesus means dying. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live to God. 20I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God. For if righteousness comes through the law, Christ died for nothing. Galatians2:19-21 Unfortunately the emphasis of many preachers, teachers, and pastors, is focused on improving the life of people. This improvement focuses on satisfying the seeker sensitive congregants with motivational speeches rather than accountable and sacrificial biblical doctrine. Very little priority is placed on making biblical disciples because that doesn’t fill sanctuaries, bible studies or social media views. If you read this far apparently this word kept your attention. I ask you to ask God where you stand with him in this critical call. Honestly ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if your life portrays Biblical Discipleship that pleases him. I leave you with these words of Jesus 34 Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’37Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; 38and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.