Faithlife Sermons

The Way of the Cross

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A Story
Main Idea
Jesus invites us to a way of living that leads to hope, peace, and victory.
But Jesus’ way is patterned after his own journey to the cross
As we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, I want us to reflect on Jesus’ own journey and how that can impact our life today.
In the Bible, we learn about Jesus as he taught His followers how to live life.
Matthew 7
Matthew 7:13–14 ESV
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

The Way of the Cross is Difficult

Jesus’ journey to the cross .
Born into poverty.
Confrontation and rejection from religious leaders.
One moment the crowd applauds him, the next moment they treat him as a criminal.
Even as He faced the cross—He prayed “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” ()
Our journey.
The way of living by faith in Jesus is difficult.
Jesus said that “the way is hard that leads to life...”
There will be suffering; there will be challenges; there will be hardship—but we are called to live by faith—in the way of the Cross.
For many, the narrow way—the hard way of the cross—is not attractive—it makes no sense.
1 Cor 1:
1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The Way of the Cross is Misunderstood.

For the believer in Christ, the cross has a “wondrous attraction.”
For the world, the cross—an instrument of execution—makes no sense. Today it is viewed as a meaningless, archaic symbol.
For the believer in Christ, the cross demonstrates...
God’s love (the consequence of sin is spiritual death.
We have all sinned. As a result, we have all earned the consequence of spiritual death (eternal separation from God).
But Jesus—who was sinless—was able to take that consequence of ours, and take our place—dying on the cross. Instead of us dying, Jesus died.
Sin was defeated on the cross. That is why the Scripture says: “but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Yes, the way of the cross is misunderstood by many—but it is the demonstration of God’s grace—His free gift.
Earlier in Jesus’ ministry, He challenged those who wanted to follower Him.
Mark 8:34 ESV
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Mark 8:34
Mark 8:34–38 ESV
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34-

The Way of the Cross is the Way of Jesus.

The way of God’s mission (to seek and save the lost).
Notes
So often we are prone to forgetting our purpose in life—to reach people with the truth of Christ.
We need to keep the main thing the main thing.
The way of compassion.
People mattered to Jesus—the lost, the lonely, the discouraged, the sick, every ethnic group, every man, every women, every child.
We are called to love people—every person. We are to be selfless.
The way that brings glory to God.
Jesus demonstrated life as what honors God.
Everything we do, think, and say is an act of worship.
The way of selflessness.
Conclusion
The way of the Cross is hard—but it is the way that leads to real life—a life of hope and peace.
During this season of life—where our plans and routines have been upended—where fear, discouragement, and loneliness can overwhelm even the strongest among us—let us not lose heart.
As Jesus faced the cross and all emotional, spiritual, and physical pain that would represent, He said to His disciples:
Matthew 26:41 ESV
41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
What can we do?
Draw our strength from what Jesus did for us (trust/faith)
Stay engaged in the work of ministry (alert)
Develop the discipline and rhythm of prayer.
Questions for Reflection and Group Discussion
Jesus said that the narrow way is hard. What makes the way Jesus calls his followers to live is hard?
How can suffering and difficulty be beneficial to the Christian?
What role does faith, trust, and obedience to Christ play in our present circumstances—especially during difficult times?
How should we approach prayer that will help us through the hard times?
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