The Way of Christ

   Written by on February 8, 2018 at 12:46 pm

logo-smith-gregIf you go to Jerusalem today, you can walk the path that Jesus walked, on the way to the cross.  That road, marked with the Stations of the Cross, is called the Via Dolorosa, or the “Way of Suffering.”  This ancient street is about 2,000 feet from start to finish, but you might say the Way of Christ took our Savior thirty-three years from beginning to end.  Yes, it wasn’t simply Jesus’ death that brings atonement—it was His whole life.

In the incarnation, Jesus took on human flesh so that we could identify with God, and God could identify with humanity.

• In His life, Jesus exemplified the love of God.

• In Jesus’ deeds, He demonstrated the way believers ought to live.

• In His teaching, Jesus gave us a glimpse into the mind of God.

• In Jesus’ death, He abandoned His life so that we might have eternal life.

• In His resurrection, Jesus demonstrated power over death and the grave.

• In Jesus’ ascension, He promised the Holy Spirit, who guides us in all truth.

In His intercession, Jesus lifts our needs before the Father.

• In Jesus’ return, He promises to make all things new.

On the Via Dolorosa, Jesus took our place.  But Jesus also says that we take Jesus’ place.  In becoming like Him, we follow Him on the salvific path.  This path is given by grace, and not earned.  Salvation is not something merited by good deeds that are done on that path, either.  When we “work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling,” we become like the body-builder, who receives a medal for his work.  But salvation is not the medal he earns for his achievements.  Rather, salvation is the glorified body he develops in the process of following the leadership of his trainer.  When we work out our salvation, it’s not for the end-goal of heaven, but for the benefits we gain in the process, for the blessing of simply walking the Way of Christ with Him.  In Matthew 16:24-27, Jesus says:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father…

This means we must each walk our own Via Dolorosa.  Just as Jesus took our place, so we must take his.  By grace, God sent Jesus, to bring at-one-ment through His incarnation, life, deeds, teaching, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and return. By following the Way of Christ, you can say…

IN MY INCARNATION, I allow God to inhabit me, taking up human flesh once again.

• IN MY LIFE, I exemplify the love of Christ (not without mistakes).

• IN MY DEEDS, I allow God to do miracles through me.

• IN MY TEACHING, I share with others the Good News of Jesus.

• IN MY DEATH TO SELF, I put myself last and others first.

• IN MY RESURRECTION, I rise beyond the suffering of life, and become a better person–healed and new.

• IN MY ASCENSION, I go before the Father through prayer.

• IN MY INTERCESSION, I lift the needs of the people to the Father.

• IN MY RETURN, I remember not to remain in that place of mystical ecstasy, but to descend to the lower earthly regions and do ministry.

The return of Christ is perhaps a hint that the work of ministry is never done.  As Jesus never escapes earth but must return and continue His work, so we must return again and again from the Way of Christ to the streets of the world.  This is how we not only walk the Savior’s path, but lead others on it as well.

©2018 Gregory T. Smith. Reprinted with permission revgregsmith.blogspot.com.

About Greg Smith

Greg Smith is a Baptist minister who has served churches in Central and Southside Virginia. He lives in Halifax County, VA with his wife and children. To read more of Greg’s writings check out his blog at revgregsmith.blogspot.com.

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