Jesus and Me Study #1
Those Who Follow Take Up A Cross
INTRODUCTION: Our Easter 2021 teaching centers on a disciple’s identification with Jesus in his determination to take up his cross, to die for sin and be raised to a new life. The Savior–our Lord–invites us to join Him in this life-transforming journey.
Palm Sunday’s teaching invited us into that journey. We heard Jesus at the start declare that a movement of “called out, called together” disciples (i.e., a church) would defeat the gates of hell. Then Jesus headed south to Jerusalem, and along the way, kept emphasizing the cross was ahead. That those who followed Him would also have a cross to “take up.”
In this group study, let’s invest some time in considering what Jesus’ call means for us today.
GETTING STARTED – Have you ever had to sacrifice something in order to secure something better? Some examples:
- A cherished “look” (style of hair or clothing) that kept you from a greater opportunity?
- A first (perhaps foolish) crush on someone…in order to wait for someone better?
- A dead-end job…in order to be available for a job/career that fit you?
Your thoughts about this idea – “some things must die that other things can live” True?
IN THE WORD – Discuss the following questions from these Scripture passages.
READ Mark 8:31-38 Why do you think Peter objected so strongly to Jesus’ prediction?
What is so counter-intuitive about what Jesus teaches here?
What about us needs to die so that something else might live?
What do you think it means “to be ashamed” of Jesus & his words…
and for Jesus “to be ashamed” of us?
Interestingly, there is a noticeable absence of “taking up your cross” language in the letters written to Christians and churches in the 1st Century. Yet the call to similar spiritual commitment is not absent. Consider the following:
- READ Romans 6:1-11
- What has happened both to Jesus and to me (as a Christian)?
- What is to be the result?
- How should I be thinking about sin, and sinning?
- READ Romans 12:1-2
- What do you find similar in these verses to the idea of “dying to self”?
- How important in following Jesus is having the mindset described here?
- READ Ephesians 4:17-23
- What is the process described here for living a new kind of life?
- How is this similar to “taking up a cross” and “dying to self”?
- Do you think many disciples actually use this process?
- Why or why not?
APPLYING and PRAYING TOGETHER – SUMMARY
Finish by reading and considering Colossians 3:1-4.
- How do these verses speak to you?
- What very practical, daily application to your walk with Jesus do they suggest?
Perspective: Self-denial has its place in a Christian’s life, but God doesn’t ask you to choose what is most painful to you. If you followed this path, you would soon ruin your health, reputation, business, and friendships. Self-denial consists of bearing patiently all those things that God allows to pass into your life. If you don’t refuse anything that comes in God’s order, you are tasting of the cross of Jesus Christ. François Fénelon, The Seeking Heart