A Blog By Mia Langford
The world is full of incredible stories. Stories that defy imagination. Stories of beauty. Stories of tragedy. Stories of love. Our created universe is one big story, with many sub-plots. Each one of us is a character in this story, with our own part to play. Humanity has a collective purpose, and the church has a collective purpose as His people, but each of us must discover our own individual purpose as well.
Jesus knew his purpose. Born to be the Savior of this created world, He knew the task would require much of him, body, mind, heart and spirit. We each have our own purpose, our own cross we must be ready for.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
As always, Jesus didn’t leave us without a beautiful example. Let’s look at some ways he prepared himself to fulfill his Father’s will before taking up his cross.
Readiness of Body
I’m utterly fascinated with the Shroud of Turin, a cloth bearing the image of a crucified man many believe to be Jesus. The Shroud is unnecessary to making a robust case for the resurrection of Jesus, but the evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity is intriguing. A University of Padua professor has even used the Shroud of Turin to create a 3D carbon copy of the man in the Shroud, allegedly revealing Christ’s true features. Other researchers have joined the professor in his conclusion: The Shroud reveals a muscular, trim man in good overall physical shape, although badly tortured before and during his death.
But even without the Shroud, one need only read the description of what Jesus went through during his crucifixion to deduce that he must have been in good physical shape. He couldn’t have endured as he did otherwise. In order to even make it to the cross, Jesus had to survive the scourging that took place beforehand. Battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted, Jesus endured joint-rending cramps, inability to breathe, and hours of searing, limitless pain.
Christians should steward our bodies well. History is replete with stories of people who were called upon to save or defend others. There were also people blessed with beauty who used it for God’s glory, and people who glorified God with the marvel of their body’s talents and abilities. These Christians’ faithful care of their health and physical gifts allowed them to do the most good for the longest amount of time possible.
Readiness of Mind
Again, we don’t need the Shroud of Turin to have all the evidence we need for reasonable belief in the Christian God or the reliability of scripture. God has gifted us with enormous amounts of objective evidence to support reasonable belief in His reality and the truth of His word, and this must under-gird our personal testimony, even though our journey may start with our own personal experiences with God.
We must know this evidence if we’re to go fulfill the Great Commission, Jesus’ command (Matthew 28:18-20) to make disciples of all nations. The world is filled with people craving solid reasons for the Christian faith. In fact, we are commanded to always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope” that is in us (I Peter 3:15).
Knowing then why we can trust the Bible, we must study to know what’s in it. Jesus defeated the devil during His temptation by knowing scripture. Knowing why you can trust your Bible, and installing it in your mind through study and memorization will anchor you in enduring faith.
There is so much more to read and learn, finish this blog at www.growingdeeperroots.org