Grapes on the Vine, God's Abundant Provision for His People

A daily devotion for February 22nd

The Principle of the Cross

Peter said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!

Mark 9:5-7

Why is it that Peter was one of the disciples chosen to see this and to learn this lesson? The answer very briefly is this: He was one of the disciples who before this had openly and vocally avoided the principle of the Cross. When Jesus began to teach the disciples that the Son of man must suffer many things, be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and be killed, Peter took him aside and said to him Lord, be it not so. Spare yourself, Lord. This cross business, you don't have to go through that. After all, a man like you, the Son of God, you don't need to go to a cross. Jesus said to him Get behind me, Satan! I know that voice. You do not understand the things of God. You only understand the things of man. Man doesn't want a cross. But God does. Peter was included in this group because he'd rejected the Cross.

There's a mistaken idea about Christianity today, that because Jesus went to the Cross, we'll never have to. Nothing could be further from the truth. He went to the Cross in order that we might go with him there, and through that Cross to the Resurrection beyond. The Cross is always the open door to liberty. It's the Cross that sets us free from our self-centered lives and breaks this damnable barrier within us that insists we live to please ourselves. It's the Cross that puts that to death. And by accepting that, by passing through that, by renouncing this right to self, we experience with him the Cross. But when we come to the Cross, beyond it always lies Resurrection. You can't have Pentecost without Calvary. You can't have the glory of a Resurrection morn without the darkness of a crucifixion. But when we accept death to our own plans, our own programs, our own lives, our own ego, then beyond lies rest, and power, and the Lost Secret of Humanity — a restored humanity which we'll share with him in glory. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we be with him in glory.

Father, teach me to accept the principle of the Cross. Help me to stop pushing away your hand that leads me into experiences that spell death to me. Teach me to accept them, and thus to know the joy of of a life lived in fellowship with the Risen Lord.

Life Application

Where do you need to renounce your right to self and recognize that the death of your own agenda can lead to life and joy with Jesus?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Transfiguration of Christ

Listen to Ray