Day 59: Lay Your Life Down : Numbers 28-29, Mark 8
Lay Your Life Down
Numbers 28-29, Mark 8
I don’t know about you but as were reading through Numbers today, I found myself exhausted with the unceasing list of sacrifices that need to be made - one day after another - various kinds of sacrifices for various kinds of occasions. It’s exhausting to read through all those requirements, and think of meeting them all, in order to find right standing before God and be in proper relationship with Him. I have a feeling that that’s the way are intended to feel when we read that. The blood of bulls and lambs are not what makes us right with God. God doesn’t need blood. He’s not bloodthirsty!
For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4 NLT)
We, are in need of something far greater than meeting the requirement of unceasing sacrifices. The point of this exhausting list that we went through, is to tell us that we can not do it! It is to show us the sheer impossibility of being justified before God by means of sacrificing one animal after another. No we are in need of a far greater Sacrifice! God isn’t offering himself as a sacrifice because he had to. But because he chose to. In giving his life on the cross, he chooses to show us the nature of character of God and his love. God lays down his life for us in selfless love. Self giving love. Given freely on behalf of others, even those who don’t deserve it.
In Mark 8 Jesus tells his disciples he’s going to do this , lay down his life and on the third day be raised from the dead. Peter rebukes him for saying this because Peter has no concept of what Jesus is talking about. But Jesus says that we need to turn away from our selfish ways. I want to show you the way of love. Love is a gift, it is selfless, other centered love. You have been immersed in this love, allow yourself to truly be convinced of it, see it meeting you, right were you are, at all times even when you are most unlovely. When you are feeling the furthest and most estranged from God, and your self. Let it grab you there, let it and let it permeate you there, And then let it pour out of you into others.
Thats what Jesus is calling us to when he says “pick up your cross and follow me” Pick up that message, that story, that reality of God’s love for you, and let it shape you in your day to day life as you walk with him, and let this cruciform love begin to pour forth from you, into your world. Your relationships.
We think it’s picking up our burden, our impossible lives and trying our darndest to be good, or do better. “Thats my cross to bear.”
The cross is not a symbol of defeat, but it is where God defeats death. It’s a symbol of victory, the portal to real, and eternal life. And God’s love for you and the whole world. Pick up that, and follow him.
Thats the prayer I have for my own soul...
Following God involves turning away from our selfish ways, picking up the Selfless way - the cross - the Gospel, and following Him. We’ve got to stop trying to save and justify ourselves. Whoever wants to save their life (a self-salvation project) will lose it. That’s called the ‘yeast of the Pharisees’ and Jesus warns against that attitude.
As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, "Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod." (Mk 8:15 NLT)
Beware of setting yourself on a course where you are trying to justify yourself before God by your own performance. Give up on that project of self-salvation, than your soul will be saved. Jesus says: Pick up your cross. Hold to my teaching, don’t be ashamed of it. Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees, this path of self-salvation. Instead, cling to my cross - my teaching, walk closely with me. There you will find it all. Then you won’t be exhausted.
Something altogether new will be taking place in your life as you begin to see him and he begins to change and transform you. He sets you off on a course in life that is full, adventurous, bold and true. That’s what awaits us all when we turn away from our selfish ways, pick up our cross and follow Him.
Stay in the know and receive the latest offerings from the DRB!