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Our Cross
what is our purpose, and why is life so hard?

Jesus of Nazareth traveled very much as a human adult, and as such, He looked forward to the greatest and most terrible task any human being has ever endured. And yet, He said, that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. How does this happen?

So let us consider what happens, when any of us have a profoundly strong motivation. Perhaps we are soon to be married. Perhaps we are on the verge of buying our first car.

Now if it's certain kinds of shotgun wedding, or if we have been talked into the car and don't really want one, we are motivated, but the motivation is not holy, it is not healthy, it is not good. We will find the decoration and setup for the wedding to be tedious, and we will want it to be over with. We will recognize things to be unhappy with about the car. These will be burdens, they will rapidly form albatrosses around our necks.

But if it's a good and holy wedding — no shotguns, and no corruptions by those who do not know or do not care what the Lord has said — it is a joy. My own wedding with Sweet Lori was such a joy. Everyone who came to our wedding helped to make it happen, and some of those things were difficult. And yet the burdens were light for all, there was joy all around, because those things were holy, and healthy, and good.

My own first car was an interesting mix, not so simple in its nature. Its owner told me that if I could get it to start, he would sell it to me for a dollar. A friend and I drove probably a hundred miles that day, trying to find the part he said it needed; and that was joy, especially when it worked. There were other lessons not so nice; but I had joy in help from my dad, who surprised me in a number of very happy ways.

But Jesus of Nazareth never did (or does) anything wrong, or not good, or unholy, or unhealthy. All that He did (and does) is holy, and healthy, and good, even when others find it unpleasant. So even a very large amount of traveling, healing in crowds, walking quietly away from attempted murder by crowds, socializing at a synagogue where he was hated and called insane, and far more, was not heavy burden to Him. His mission was not a heavy burden to Him, and He does not want us to do things that are a heavy burden to us. He did difficult things, and wants us to do difficult things, which are joy and holy and good, and are therefore not heavy burdens. He sorrowed sometimes, and sometimes greatly, but He accepted no burden which would be heavy to Him, and this is a way He wants us to be as well.

And in this He gave a teaching which many have heard: "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." We desire to come after Him, into the Kingdom of God. We shall deny ourselves — our own personal honor, purposes, legacy, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happinesses. We shall take up our cross — the purposes the Lord gives us, which is to build the Kingdom of God, and not the unhealthy burdens of this world.

And we must not take up the unhealthy burdens of this world. These are the essence of human bitterness, human despondency, human depression, and human living death. The world hammers everyone with teachings of burdens which are very attractive and terribly, terribly heavy. It teaches all to try in vain to force their neighbors to lying obedience, to hypocrisy: the atheists try to shame everyone else and make an atheist nation, the quasichristians try to shame the atheists and make a national quasichristianist nation (the Lord has said that He shall not rule this world!), others do according to their other favorite things, and none of them have the freedom in love of the Kingdom of God. They all try in vain to purify the nation, they all try in vain to make this world a better place in which to live, and they all shall fail. He has said that He shall return to rule, only after the days of vengeance which are not come yet. He has sent the Holy Spirit as Comforter and Helper to those that love Him and will come to love Him. The Holy Spirit is not justice-bringer, nor world-purifier or nation-purifier, nor vengeance-taker against the forever condemned. That does not come yet.

We therefore shall not take up the unhealthy burdens of this world. We shall follow Christ the Lord through the Holy One whom He has sent. We shall desire to live, do, and be the very things He has quoted Himself, as asking, within the Holy Scripture. We shall help disciple those who respond to the voice of the Lord, who are those He calls His sheep, to help build the Kingdom of God.

Jonathan Brickman
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© 2022 Jonathan E. Brickman

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