There's A Cost. Count It.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Philippians 3:7

The personhood of Jesus is offensive if you think about it. Like truly offensive. I mean that's why nearly all the teachers and Pharisees plotted to kill Him. 

Jesus threatened their very livelihood with the Good News.

Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
1 Corinthians 1:27

The cross to this day- two millennia later- still gets people defensive and up in arms. You can't add or subtract from what the cross did-what it represents for all time.

When you look at the cross, you realize that there's a cost in seeing the bloodied wood. There's a cost in seeing the offending tree on which Jesus hung. 

The cost hits you square in the face, and before you can even soothe the bruise of its truth that somehow pierced your heart, it asks you- it has the audacity to ask you- will you consider it? Will you count its cost in your life? Will you change your life in light of its cost?

Will you admit that you're in need of the Savior?
Will you admit that despite your best efforts all you can produce are filthy rags of righteousness?
Will you admit your desperate need of the Lord?
Will you admit that you really don't have the slightest clue as to how to run your own life?
Will you admit that the cross was for you?

Not many want to admit that. Even some Christians have trouble and stumble when dealing with the cross.

No one wants to admit that they do not have all the answers, that they're a highly functioning mess on their good days. THEIR GOOD DAYS!

No one wants to disclose their insecurities, their doubts, their- gasp- sins because I mean who wants to be vulnerable, to be honest, to be humble enough to accept a gift as great as the cross?

Because it's true. Everything- all that you've worked for, all those goals, all the things you've chased because the world taught you that they were valuable- it all has to be counted as a loss in order to gain the cross.

Everything, not just some thing(s), but all of it, all of you has to change in light of the cross.

Can you grasp its severity? Do you want to?

In Acts 9, Saul had every reason to be confident in life. There was a standard, and he met every one of its benchmarks.
  • Circumcised ✔
  • Israelite, Hebrew, from the tribe of Benjamin ✔✔ ✔
  • Pharisee ✔✔
  • Persecutor of the newfound church of Jesus Christ ✔✔✔✔✔
  • Righteous and blameless by law ✔✔✔✔
Like many during his time, Saul knew the law intimately and based his life on its precepts. He was ruthless in his pursuit of the Church because he was convinced that these followers were dangerously led astray.

Would we do any less when Someone comes in and says that all we have built- the monuments, the empires- all the accolades we have collected were worthless?

Saul knew that this Church didn't reflect the God who gave Moses the law- the law that he upheld- so he took up the mantle to persecute those who followed the Way of Jesus.

And he was on the way to bind some in Damascus in order to ship them back to Jerusalem, when Jesus Himself intercepted the persistent Pharisee.

Jesus Himself, the One to which the law and the prophets point, interrupted Saul on his mission, and Saul had no idea who He was.

Remember, Saul spent his life earning one notch after another on his belt. He was high on his horse- on his way to arrest some Christians- thinking he was doing the Lord's work, thinking he knew God's heart on the matter when all of a sudden, in a flash of light, Saul meets God's Heart and realizes that he didn't know Him at all.

Jesus walked in and rebuked Saul for his actions, giving him more than a glimpse of what confidence in the flesh got him: utter, terrifying darkness.

The next three days, in that darkness, Saul saw clearly what living by society's standard and by the tradition of men got him: empires full of sandcastles and notoriety for towers of Babel. 

Within one breath, Jesus wrenched apart Saul's world and left him reeling in the wreckage caused by the cross.

And all that was left at the end were the same questions that the cross asks of us all.

Will we continue with business as usual?
Will we remain mute and blind to the hurting around us?
Will we settle in this comfort the world gives us or will we take His in?
Will we pretend that the worship, the services, the traditions done by our strength alone brings us closer to God?

Two thousand years ago, the cross told us- the "self-sufficient" beings- that we could never bridge the gap to God on our own. We need help: a Savior. There is no blueprint, no law, no tradition that we can take up on our own to fix ourselves.

We need help.

So in the shadow of the cross, there's a choice. With Jesus, there will always be a choice.

Will we turn our backs on the cross and toil in vain?
Or will we embrace the cross with all its implications?