DAY THIRTY FIVE of 50-Day Spiritual Journey

Read John 16:20-24

Jesus is reminding His disciples that once He goes to the cross they will weep with sadness, but then when He rises from the grave, He will give them this overwhelming, indestructible joy that no one can take away from us.

This word “take away” in verse 22 means “conquer or kill”. In other words, no one can kill or conquer this joy that Jesus gives us.

In the context of this passage, Jesus is addressing the full reality of the cross. As we continue to think about what it means to have a gospel-centered culture at Emmanuel, it all hinges on our reflection and mediation upon the cross of Christ.

Are you focusing on the cross? Have you gotten bored with the cross? What will bring us the most joy in our journey to be conformed to the image of Christ? Focusing daily on the cross of Calvary.

Read Galatians 6:14

When we boast or make much of the cross, we find our greatest joy. We come to realize that our old life of sin and shame has been crucified with Jesus, and we have been raised to new life and have a new identity—an identity marked by grace, acceptance, love, mercy, and the goodness of our great God.

C.J. Mahaney has said this, “Unless you see yourself standing there with the shrieking crowd, full of hostility and hatred for the holy and innocent Lamb of God  (who cried “Crucify Him!”) you don’t really understand the nature and depth of your sin or the necessity of the cross.”

John Stott has said, “Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”

The amazing thing about the cross is that before we were saved, our true size was that of a depraved, helpless, rebellious sinner separated from God and under His wrath. But now through the mercy of God, He has made us a new creation in Christ and we are chosen, loved, accepted, purchased, forgiven, righteous, indwelt, empowered, and sanctified.  We have a new identity.

The cross gives us a wonderful perspective of who we used to be and who we are now and the ultimate price Jesus paid to save us from God’s wrath.

If you lack joy in your Christian life, focus on the cross. Think about the cross. Ponder the depths of the cross. Boast in the cross.

Spend some time in prayer doing that right now.

Holy and Righteous Father,

You are glorious and powerful. You are a God of love and a God of justice. You cannot tolerate evil and you will show Your wrath and righteousness. Thank you that You poured out all that anger on Jesus in my place. Thank you that through the cross I am a new creation. Thank you that I can now boast in the cross. Thank you for giving me the joy of my salvation. Please, produce this joy in me as I continually think about the glories of the cross.

Amen

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