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Jesus Lays Down His Life

(John 19:16-30)

Lesson 5 -- second quarter 2004
April 4, 2004

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications

Led away

I wonder how many condemned prisoners these Roman soldiers had simply led away to their doom. Though at this stage of the process most had been so tortured that they didn't have the strength to resist much, surely the reality of the impending cross drove many into a frantic frenzy. But Jesus was led away -- it sounds so peaceable and meek.

Did Jesus allow Himself to be led away because His physical agony left Him no other alternative? No! He still could have called for those legions of angels to liberate Him. He still could have spoken the words of power that would have thrown down His oppressors and restored His own body to full strength and wholeness. He still could have allowed the force of His divinity to set Him free. But He did not resist in the littlest bit and so they were able to lead Him away.

We know meekness is not weakness. The meek accept being led away even though they have the power to blow away the opposition. Meekness is power and advantage kept in check so that cooperation and submission may manifest themselves. Meekness yields though it could readily overcome. No, meekness is not weakness -- it is power so restrained as to create the illusion of powerlessness and disadvantage.

How readily do you submit to authority? Remember meekness is a state of the heart, not just outward conformity and obedience. Make it easy for authority to lead you . . . and don't be struggling, resisting, and fighting on the inside.

How do you respond to being wronged, especially when you have a "good case" and could force an outcome in your favor? Though many times I have endured a wrong, I have not done well at accepting it in my heart. I want God to help me remember that "they took Jesus, and led him away" (John 19:16). And I want Him to show me how to practice that in my life. I'll certainly need His power and grace, because allowing myself to be led away is terribly contrary to my natural bent.

Take that cross!

"And he bearing his cross went forth" (John 19:17). The Father determined that it was not possible for this cup to pass from Jesus, so Jesus took the cup and began to drink from it. Though His will had been to avoid it if possible, Jesus accepted the will of the Father. When His will crossed the will of His Father's, He chose the Father's. That inner cross-bearing made possible the actual bearing of a literal cross.

That's one picture. Here's another one; make sure you get it clearly in your mind and display it clearly in your life!

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23).

"And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27).

"And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:38).

When your will crosses the Master's, choose His. Do it every day and every time. There is absolutely no other way to be His disciple.

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