Whew, We’re Not The Only Ones…

As I was reading in Mark 9 I was comforted to know that we are not the only ones who constantly spit on the cross by refusing to fully accept the sacrifice that Christ made on it for us. We are not the only ones who seek to “supplement the cross” in our pursuits to please God & earn His favor with our good deeds/works. Three of His “best students” seemed to be bent towards that same brokenness as well…

At the beginning of chapter 9 Jesus brings Peter, James, and John up on the mountain with Him. Then, something supernatural happens. Jesus’ clothes become dazzling white, and Elijah & Moses appear before them talking to Jesus. Check out our brilliant friend Peter’s response…

5Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6(He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

7Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Peter has a supernatural encounter with God, and look what his FIRST response is…He immediately wants to DO something for Jesus. It’s almost like he wants to impress Jesus with his good idea. (Although confining Jesus, Elijah, and Moses to a shelter does not seem like too great of an idea to me) God the Father has to yell at Peter from the clouds to get him to shut up and listen; by then it’s too late…

8Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

I wonder what would have happened had Peter kept his mouth shut, watched, and listened? Instead, he immediately feels the need to work, to do, to perform, & earn the favor of Jesus. Jesus wanted them to experience, and witness that wonderful happening. I wonder if Peter missed out on something powerful that he needed to hear. (If he did I’m sure Jesus filled him in later – Peter did, after all, end up doing some pretty neat stuff in the kingdom=)

I also realize that this is before the cross, so the disciples have a reason NOT to understand/accept it at this point; it hasn’t happened yet! So, we can cut them some slack here. We, however, can’t use that same excuse…

How often do we bypass the, “This is my son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” part because we are too busy trying to impress Jesus with our grand ideas of kingdom growth strategery, and performance based lifestyle? Do we often miss out on something God may be trying to teach or show us because we’re busy trying to show HIM how good we can be for Him?

“Christ, thank you that you have grace, and patience for us even when we fail to grasp even the most basic principles of your life.”


“Supplementing The Cross”

Sup⋅ple⋅ment – noun: Something added to complete a thing, supply a deficiency, or reinforce or extend a whole. – Verb (used with object) – To complete, add to, or extend by a supplement. To form a supplement or addition to. To supply (a deficiency).

It has becoming increasingly evident to me how little stock we truly put in what Christ did on the cross for us. We may say with our words, “the cross was enough; what Jesus did was enough”. However, our actions are a daily picture of broken humanity that insists on supplementing the cross. It is as if we say,

“Jesus, thank you for this act of sacrifice on the cross you have suffered through to completely cover my sins, and make me clean…wait, did I say completely? What I meant was thank for offering yourself as PART of the sacrifice. I appreciate that, and will now do my part to make up for where your sacrifice on the cross was not enough.”

At that moment we take out our hammer, tiny finishing nails, and pieces of paper. We begin writing little deeds, and good works on those pieces of paper. We frantically tap the little nails through the paper, and into the wood of the cross directly above, below, and next to the broken, & bloody parts of our Savior’s body. With each good deed we add to the cross our pursuits of making up for where Christ’s sacrifice was lacking. With each one we spit on our King’s body. In essence, we are doing nothing less than driving those little finishing nails straight into His flesh. I wonder if those little nails hurt worse than the huge spikes that attached Him to the cross…?

We have this fundamental misunderstanding of the cross, and Christ’s purpose in dying on it for us. We are SO quick, in our broken human-ness to try and perform to earn God’s approval. We are taking the very thing that sets us apart as followers of Christ and trading it in for a life of vain pursuits. We continue to fall victim to a trap that tricks us into thinking Christ desires our works, and good deeds to gain His approval. We attempt to “pay God back” for what He did, and earn our salvation by our dead works. Father, forgive us.

We mustn’t perform to earn God’s approval. We obey Him because we already have His approval. We gained that approval through believing that what He did on the cross was ENOUGH; it needs no supplement.

Will you join me in repenting for attempting to supplement the cross…?