The Mind of Christ: Bearing the Cross
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
"And he (Jesus) went out, bearing his own cross." (John 19:17, ESV)
As we’ve begun Holy Week, I thought it might be good to do something about the mind of Christ as His earthly ministry was coming to a close.
When did Jesus bear the cross? Surely He did it physically on the way to Golgotha, when the bitter tree was placed on His shoulders. Its vision may have risen before Him in His infant dreams in Bethlehem's manager. But it was there that its reality began. Like an old Polaroid camera’s picture that develops in front of your eyes, so Christ’s cross developed throughout his life.
It can be seen in some of these and other life experiences that He endured: His family’s flight to Egypt; His return to Nazareth; the challenge of the religious leaders; the multiple death threats He endured; the little faith of His disciples; the large crowds day-in and day-out; the comments His family made about the state of His mind; the death of His friend Lazarus; the quarreling of His disciples of who was the greatest; the experience of having no place to lay His head; the hard-hardness of Israel; the betrayal of Judas, the unbelief of Jerusalem caused Him grief; and the mockery of a fair trial; and He ceased not to carry this cross, until His work was finished, and the victory won! He had a cloud of woe hanging over Him all of His life and when He went to Calvary He carried all of our sorrows there as well.
We should be dwelling much and often under the shadow of our Lord's cross — and it will lead us to think lightly of our own! If He gave utterance to not one murmuring word — how then, can you or I complain? One author makes this astute comment: "If we were deeper students of His bitter anguish — we would think less of the rippling of our waves, amid His horrible tempest"
As believers, our cross, like Christ’s cross, assumes many and diverse shapes. Sometimes it is the bitter trial, the crushing pang of bereavement, desolate households, isolation, and aching hearts. Sometimes it is the crucifixion of sin, the determined battling with "lusts which war against the soul." Sometimes it is the resistance of the evil deeds and practices of a lying world — vindicating the honor of Christ, in the midst, it may be, of taunt, and ridicule, and shame. And as there are different crosses — so there are different ways of bearing them. To some, God says, "Put your shoulder to the burden; lift it up, and bear it on; work, and toil, and labor!" To others, He says, "Be still, bear it — and suffer!"
Believer, your cross may be hard to endure, it may involve deep struggles — tears by day, longings by night; bear these meekly, patiently justifying God's wisdom in laying it on you. Rejoice in the assurance that He gives not one atom more of earthly trial than He sees to be really needful; not one unnecessary thorn pierces your feet. In the very bearing of the cross for His sake — there are mighty refreshing streams of hope for you. What new delights we have of our Savior's love, His truth, His promises, His sustaining grace, His sufferings, His glory! What new experiences of His nearness; increased delight in prayer; in inner peace when all is howling on the outside! The waves cover you — but underneath them all, are "the everlasting arms of Jesus!"
Believer, recall the words from Katie Wilkinson’s hymn, “May the Mind of Christ My Savior” which says,
May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and pow’r controlling
All I do and say.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I have the mind of Christ to guide me when I go through various trials in my life. I pray for grace and strength to be faithful to You in all circumstances. May the mind of Christ my Savior, live in me from day to day, and by His love and power controlling all I do and say.
In Christ’s name. Amen.