Uncomfortable | Week 1: the Cross
The Cross is a difficult thing to explain. It is the symbol of salvation and forgiveness; it also represents the suffering and pain that Jesus endured to provide us with those gifts. The Romans used crucifixion as a form of intimidation and it was the ultimate savagery and shamefulness for those were sentenced to die in that way. If the image of the cross does not make us uncomfortable, then perhaps we do not fully comprehend it. There seems to be a disconnect between receiving the benefits of the cross and “taking up our cross.”
READ 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.
READ this passage again and consider these related questions.
What is the foolishness that the cross conveys to those who don’t know Jesus?
How does the power of God show up in an understanding of the cross?
How is the cross viewed differently depending upon perspective?
Read Mark 8:34-38
1. What sorts of things are we asked to deny ourselves from as followers of Jesus?
2. If taking up our cross usually doesn’t mean physical suffering and death, what does it mean?
3. How are obtaining the things of the world related to losing our soul?
4. How does verse 38 encapsulate denying ourselves and recognizing that suffering may be a part of following Jesus? Is that a comforting thought?
Read Mark 10:42-45
5. What does the world deem as success and achievement?
6. How would you define a “servant-leader”? Is that a positive trait in our culture?
Read Colossians 2:13-15
7. It’s easy to focus on the difficult parts of taking up our cross, is the reward enough to convince you?
8. Look at verse 15, what does this say about the need to have an upside down view of our culture?