Discipleship and the Cross

We know the suffering and humiliation that Christ suffered on the cross and the gruesome death that he endured for our sins.  We understand the message of Easter and what it means to us as Christians.  Aside from the forgiveness of sins though, does the cross have application for how we ought to live our daily lives?

It was at the cross that Jesus took our burdens.  In Matthew 11:28-30 he says,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

We also are to carry one another’s burdens though.  Galatians 6:2 instructs, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  Carrying a burden means suffering at times.  This doesn’t mean we should seek out pain and sorrow but we shouldn’t shy away from it either.  Jesus did not want to endure the cross and pleaded with his Father to take it away from him but he was willing to endure the suffering for the sake of others.

What do you think of the following statement by Bonhoeffer?  “If we refuse to take up our cross and submit to suffering and rejection at the hands of men, we forfeit our fellowship with Christ and have ceased to follow him.”

We shouldn’t be surprised to discover that life is a trial at times.  The difference between Christians and others is that we have someone who we can share our burdens with.  Bonhoeffer writes, “Suffering means being cut off from God.  Therefore those who live in communion with him cannot really suffer.”  Do you agree with this statement?

Can Christians suffer?

If a Christian suffers is that a sign that they are out of communion with God?

What do you consider to be suffering?

Jesus leads us as we encounter suffering.  That is part of what it means to be a disciple, following the teacher.  When we encounter hardships, or help others endure them, we don’t know what will happen.  We need to trust Jesus to lead us and that wherever he leads, his way is best.  He will not give us more than we can bear – if we allow him to share the burden.  If we try to carry the burden alone, we may expect to fail.

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