|Ch1: Vision of Awakening - Part IV|
Somehow our view of Jesus has been clouded. In our attempt to make sure we're comfortable and free from pain, we've lost the centrality of the cross of Christ in Christianity. Christianity without the cross is not Christianity at all.
Everything in the life of Jesus pointed to the cross. The cross was ugly and painful. It was the symbol of death. On the cross, Jesus paid the price to make the way for us to come to God. He gave us the contrasting picture of the love of the Father and the sinfulness of man. On the cross, Jesus gave up His life that we might have life eternal.
But He says to all who would follow Him, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23; emphasis added).
In order to follow Him, we must take up our cross. We shall never see the glory of His resurrection power until we enter into the experience of the cross. And that costs. It costs everything.
Roy Hession experienced revival in East Africa. Shortly after being touched by that revival, he was asked by a friend, "What is your vision?"
He responded that he had three visions: for evangelism, Scripture distribution, and revival.
The wise friend said, "Brother, you have not really seen the way yet…. How terrible! There is only one vision, and that is the Jesus you have been experiencing in the revival. He includes everything!"
When He is everything, then we have all we need.
Later, when a friend returned to England from the African revival, he told Hession, "I find the Christians in England have the queerest idea of what revival is. They think it is the top blowing off, when in reality it is the bottom falling out!"4
Jesus is the King. In His manifesto, He described the inhabitants of His kingdom. Those who listened must have been shocked as they heard the King's words (Matthew 5:3-10):
- Blessed are the poor in spirit….
- Blessed are they that mourn….
- Blessed are the meek….
- Blessed are those [who] hunger and thirst after righteousness….
- Blessed are the merciful….
- Blessed are the pure in heart….
- Blessed are the peacemakers….
- Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake….