Living to Die: Staring Down the Barrel of A Loaded Gun

Today’ selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirty through fifty of the ninth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of scripture you will find it beginning with a particular shift and transition in teaching which has essentially already begun within the life and ministry of Jesus. As you open up the words which are found within this passage of scripture you will find Jesus once again speaking unto the disciples concerning His imminent suffering, and ultimately His death at the hands of men. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact what there come a point within the life and ministry of Jesus where while it was true He had spent a considerable amount of time teaching the people, beaming the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead, feeding the multitudes, and the like, His life had now become about one thing and one thing only. For three and a half years Jesus lives among the people as the Word which became flesh and dwelt among us, yet there would come a point when He began speaking about the ultimate purpose for which He must come. Before we even get into this particular reality it’s necessary to note and notice that even from early on during the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ He knew and understood the mission and purpose for which He came. In fact, if you journey to the second chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find Jesus entering into the temple and noticing the tremendous commerce and industry that had been occurring within the house of the Lord. Filled with a holy anger which burned hot and intently within His entire being Jesus fashioned a chord of whips and began overturning the tables of money, driving out the money changers, and declaring His Father’s house a house of prayer. At the same time Jesus also instructed and commanded them to stop making the house of the Lord a den of iniquity and a marketplace. When the scribes and the chief priests witnessed the actions of Jesus they immediately grew offensive and asked Him on what authority He did such things and engaged in such actions. Jesus’ response was simply that if they destroyed the temple, He would rebuild it again in three days. The hearts and minds of the Pharisees, scribes and elders of Israel were blind to what He actually meant when He spoke these words, for they thought he was speaking of the physical temple. In all reality, that which Jesus was truly and ultimately speaking about was the temple of His body which would be raised from death to life.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that there cane a point within and during the life and ministry of Jesus when although He had engaged Himself in public ministry and teaching, His life would now be lived for an entirely different purpose. There came a point within the life and ministry when while He always lived in order that He might die, this mission now become more focused and increasingly necessary. When we come to this particular point within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ we find Him recognizing that His life was transitioning and spiraling closer and closer to His death which would take place in such a short period of time. In fact, there would come a point within the life and ministry of Jesus when He would speak unto His disciples and would declare unto them that He must needs go unto Jerusalem, for it would be in the city of Jerusalem where He would ultimately meet the affliction and suffering for which He had been sent. Jesus knew that He must needs go unto the city of Jerusalem, for it would be within the city of Jerusalem where He would find Himself essentially staring directly down the barrel of a loaded gun which would be pointed directly at Him. STARING DOWN THE BARREL OF A LOADED GUN! When Jesus made His way to the city of Jerusalem He knew and understood that His journey to Jerusalem would be one that would set Him on a collision course with suffering and death, and would place Him squarely in the sights of the Chief priests, the scribes, the elders of Israel, and the entire religious system of that day. What we must recognize and understand is that at this point within and during the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ we find Him living for one purpose and one purpose only, for at this point in His life and ministry we find Him living in order that He might die. Of course this was always the mission and objective within and during the life and ministry of Jesus, however, there would come a point when the reality of suffering and death would come closer into view and would become an even greater reality. LIVING TO DIE! At this point within and during the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ we find Him striving with and for one purpose and one purpose alone—to suffer at the hands of men, to carry His own cross, and to ultimately die upon the cross as He would be put to death by the Romans. In other words, there would come a point when death would begin the single greatest driving factor within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, as everything He would do would be to set Him on the path of suffering and death.

The more I read and the more I consider the words which are found in the opening portion of this particular passage of Scripture the more I can’t help but be drawn to the fact that within it we find the second teaching Jesus delivered unto His disciples concerning His suffering and death. This is actually quite interesting, for when you read the words which Mark uses to describe this particular experience, as well as that which was found just a few short verses earlier was that Jesus taught His disciples concerning His own suffering and death. I find it to be absolutely tremendous and worth pointing out that when Mark described this particular point within the life and ministry of Jesus, He described it as a time when Jesus would teach the disciples things concerning His own suffering and death. This is quite interesting and unique, for in the previous teaching which Jesus engaged in with His disciples, we find directly linked and connected to the teaching concerning His own suffering and death was a powerful invitation for others to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow after Him. In the previous encounter which Jesus had with His disciples we find Him specifically speaking unto the disciples and not only teaching them concerning His own suffering and death, but also speaking unto them concerning their own call and invitation to suffer and to ultimately die. I can’t help but be absolutely and completely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that at this point within and during the life and ministry of Jesus we find Him not only preparing to die, but we also find Him living His life for one reason and one purpose alone—to suffer at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of Israel, and to ultimately be placed upon a cruel Roman tree where He would die and be crucified. Everything that would happen from this moment on would be for one single one purpose and one purpose alone, and that was to ultimately suffer at the hands of religion and to be crucified at the hands of sinners. SUFFERING AT THE HANDS OF RELIGION, YET CRUCIFIED BY THE HANDS OF SINNERS! Pause for a moment and consider that reality—the reality that while it is true that Jesus was crucified and killed by sinners, He originally suffered at the hands of religion and at the hands of the religious system. While it was true that it was the Romans who nailed Jesus to the tree and themselves engaged in an act of inflicting suffering and pain within the life and upon the physical body of Jesus, it was the religious leaders and the religious leaders which began the process of His suffering. The more you read and the more you consider the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ you will find that Jesus suffered at the hands of religion, yet it was religion which ultimately caused Jesus to be crucified by sinners, for it was religion which handed Jesus over to sinners in order that they might crucify Him.

As I think about the fact that Jesus suffered at the hands of religion before being handed over to sinners where He would be killed and crucified, I can’t help but find it absolutely intriguing how it was religion that had the quarrel with Jesus. All throughout the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ it was never sinners which had the quarrel with Jesus, but rather it was always religion and the religious leaders which had the quarrel and offense with Jesus. The more you read and the more you study the four gospels which were written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, the more you will be brought face to face with the tremendous fact that pretty much throughout the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ we find religion having a quarrel and having an offense with Jesus—an offense which would ultimately and always cause them to seek to destroy and have Him killed. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this particular concept, for it brings us face to face with the fact Jesus’ greatest opposition and Jesus’ greatest assailants were not the Romans who crucified Him, but rather the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of Israel, and the religious leaders of that day. It was true that Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified, and it was true that the Roman soldiers divided Jesus’ garments, and it was true that the Roman soldiers beat and flogged Jesus, and it was true that it was the Romans who ultimately nailed Jesus to the cross, however, we must recognize and understand that it was religion and it was the religious leaders which ultimately had the offense, the quarrel and the animosity with, toward and against Jesus the Christ. We don’t ever read of sinners having a quarrel and taking up and offense with and toward Jesus, but always the religious system and the religious leaders which themselves had an offense and quarrel with Jesus the Christ within and throughout His life and ministry. It was always the religious system and the religious leaders which had a great quarrel and a great controversy with Jesus the Christ, for they could neither handle His teaching, nor could they handle His works—particularly and especially when both His teaching and His works flew directly in the fact of their own teaching and traditions. If you read the entire four gospels which were written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find the greatest measure of opposition, the greatest measure of hatred, and the greatest measure of offense taken with and taken up against Jesus was always at the hands of religion and at the hands of the religious leaders which were present during those days.

I am sitting here this morning and I can’t help but come face to face with the fact that when we come to this particular point within and during the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ we find Him aiming and even striving for one particular purpose and one purpose alone—mainly and namely to die at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel. This particular shift and transition within the teaching of Jesus the Christ would begin within the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark, and would come directly on the heels of Jesus calling His disciples aside and taking them unto Himself in order that He might speak to them concerning identity—particularly and especially concerning his own identity. In fact, if we are to truly understand Jesus’ words concerning His own suffering and death it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we first come to terms with the fact that Jesus first pulled His disciples aside and asked them who men said that He the Son of man was. This question was one intended on causing them to think about and consider the opinions and views of others concerning His identity and who others said and believed He was. After hearing the disciples’ responses concerning who others said He was, Jesus then points the question squarely and directly at them and asks them who they said He the Son of man was. What is so interesting and unique about this particular encounter is that Jesus didn’t ask the disciples what others were saying about Him. Jesus didn’t pull His disciples aside and ask them what the chief priests, what the scribes and what the elders of Israel were saying and speaking of Him. Jesus didn’t ask the disciples what those who had partaken of the five loaves of bread and the two fish, nor what those who had partaken of the seven loaves of bread and the few fishes and had been satisfied were saying about Him. You will notice that Jesus’ question wasn’t about what was being said about Him, but was a question concerning identity—a question concerning who He truly and who He really was. The question Jesus asked His disciples was not a question of works, but rather a question of identity, for Jesus sought to inquire of His disciples what others said concerning who He was as the Son of man. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this, for Jesus has never been concerned with what we say about Him, nor even what we believe about Him, but who we say that He is. If it is true that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, then what we say concerning Jesus the Christ comes from within and from a place of emotion. When Jesus pulled His disciples aside unto Himself and asked them who men said that He the Son of man was, He wasn’t asking them what men were saying and what men were speaking concerning what He had done, but rather who men said and who men believed Him to be. Even when He pointed and directed the question to the disciples themselves Jesus wasn’t interested in what the disciples said about Him, but rather who the disciples said and who the disciples believed Him to be. Jesus was never concerned with what was said about His works, nor was He concerned with what was said about His teaching, but what was said about who He was. Oh, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we do not miss it on this particular point, for it is not necessarily what we say about and what we think about Jesus that ultimately matters, but rather who we say and who we believe to Jesus. It has always and will always come back to the place of identity and who we believe within our hearts and spirits Jesus the Christ truly is.

Directly and immediately on the heels of Jesus asking the disciples this question of identity we find Him transitioning in their presence, and turning the tide in the conversation to now beginning to speak unto them concerning His suffering and death. In fact, if you begin reading with and from the twenty-seventh verse of the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark you will find the following words which were written concerning Jesus’ pulling the disciples aside to speak to them about His Idenity before ultimately speaking to them concerning His suffering and death. Consider if you will the words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the twenty-seventh verse of the eighth chapter:

“And Jesus went out, and His disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way He asked His disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto Him, Thou art the Christ. And He charged them that they should tell no man of Him. And HE began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and three days rise again. And He spake that saying openly. And Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exhange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:27-38).

Within this particular passage of Scripture we find Jesus beginning to speak openly and plainly concerning His suffering and death—something that is quite remarkable and astounding when you consider it, for Jesus wasn’t seeking to hide anything from his disciples. Jesus wasn’t seeking to conceal anything concerning His suffering and His death, for He knew that the time was quickly and fast approaching when He would be rejected of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel, and would suffer many things, and ultimately be killed. I find it absolutely wonderful and amazing that when writing about this particular passage of Scripture Mark writes how Jesus began speaking concerning His suffering and death “openly” with His disciples. This is quite intriguing and absolutely remarkable when you consider it, for Jesus was no longer seeking to hide and conceal the reality of His suffering and His death from his disciples, nor was He seeking to speak in a concealed manner unto His disciples. When Mark wrote about Jesus speaking unto His disciples and teaching them concerning His suffering and His death, Mark wrote how Jesus began to speak this saying openly. IN other words the proverbial cat was out of the bag, for Jesus had now reached a point and place within His life and ministry when He would speak openly, clearly and plainly concerning his suffering and His death, for He was preparing His disciples for a transition within His life and ministry—one that would at the time appear to and seem to be difficult to handle and perhaps even bare. The fact that Mark writes how Jesus began speaking this saying openly suggests the fact that Jesus was no longer seeking to conceal His suffering and His death from His disciples. In fact, up until this moment within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ I would dare say that the disciples didn’t even think about—much less consider the fact that Jesus would or even could die at the hands of sinners. They could understand Jesus being rejected by the chief priests, by the scribes and by the elders, for they had a context for such a reality. When it came to Jesus’ suffering, and ultimately His death the disciples did not have a context for such a reality within their view and perception of Jesus, for there were no signs or indications which pointed to the fact that Jesus would or even could suffer and ultimately die. What do you do when there is no context for your perception and reality of Jesus, and when Jesus begins to transition to a place you neither anticipated, nor expected of Him? What happens when you find yourself following Jesus, and yet He begins to move an operate that which you had grown to understand concerning Him? What happens when you find yourself following Jesus and there is no longer a context for what begins to happen within your relationship with Him? The disciples had walked with and followed Jesus for three and a half years, and yet now after spending so long with Him the disciples no longer had a context for what Jesus was speaking unto them. The disciples could not understand—much less even fathom the fact that Jesus would and could suffering, and ultimately die.

In the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark we find Jesus beginning to speak openly and plainly unto the disciples concerning His suffering and death, and when we come to the ninth chapter we find Jesus once more speaking directly unto the disciples concerning His suffering and death. In verses thirty-one through thirty-two of the ninth chapter we find the following words which were written and recorded by John Mark concerning words which Jesus once more spoke unto and delivered unto the disciples who had faithfully followed and walked with Him for three and a half years: “And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and He would not that any man should know it. For He taught His disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that He is killed, He shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask Him” (Mark 9:30-32). What we find and what we read within this particular passage is actually quite interesting, for while it was true this was the second time Jesus taught His disciples concerning His suffering, His death and His resurrection, the disciples did not understand what He was saying unto them, and they were afraid to ask Him. Here we have a second occurrence where Jesus spoke plainly unto His disciples concerning His suffering and death, and yet the disciples could not understand that which He was speaking unto them. The question I can’t help but ask myself when reading this is how the disciples could miss, and how the disciples could not understand that which Jesus was speaking unto them. Mark clearly writes how Jesus began speaking plainly unto the disciples concerning His suffering and His death, and now we have the second occurrence when Jesus would speak to them concerning His suffering and death, and yet they could not understand what He was speaking unto them. I can’t help but wonder if it was a matter of the disciples could not understand that which Jesus was speaking unto them, or rather that the disciples did not want to understand that which Jesus was speaking unto them. I have no reason to doubt that which Mark wrote within this gospel, and I have no reason to doubt that the disciples did not understand that which Jesus was speaking unto them, but what I have to question and what I wonder is whether or not it was a matter of them choosing not to understand that which Jesus was speaking unto them. Having followed and walked with Jesus for three and a half years they didn’t have a context for what Jesus was teaching and speaking unto them, for they could not fathom Jesus suffering at the hands of the scribes, the elders and the chief priests, and they could not fathom Jesus ultimately dying and being put to death. The truth of the matter, however, was that Jesus was in fact going to suffer, and Jesus was in fact going to die. There was no way around this fact, and there was no way to avoid it. In fact, even when Jesus was alone before and with his Father in the garden of Gethsemane He initially asked if it was possible that this cup would pass from Him, but would ultimately declare that if this cup would and could not pass from Him, He would do the divine will and purpose of the Father.

I wrote earlier concerning the reality of staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, and at this point within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ it is safe to say that He was in fact staring down the barrel of a loaded gun—one that was pointed directly at Him. At this point within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ—not only was He staring down the barrel of a loaded gun which was pointed directly at Him, but His life began to be all about reaching the point and place where He would suffer at the hands of the scribes, chief priests and elders, and ultimately die. When Jesus began speaking openly and plainly unto His disciples concerning His death and His suffering He was acknowledging that from that moment on His entire life and ministry was focused on and would be spent hurdling straight toward the barrel of that gun knowing it would go off. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—if you knew that the barrel of the gun you were staring down was not only loaded, but would also go off and that such a reality was imminent, would you put yourself directly in the path of such a reality? If you knew that you would most definitely find yourself experiencing being shot by a bullet which was fired from a loaded gun pointed directly at you, would you continue staring down the barrel of that gun? For Jesus, He knew and understood that His life had reached the ultimate place where He would now life for one purpose and one purpose alone, and that was to suffer and die. Jesus recognized, knew and understood that His life from this moment on would be one where He would ultimately and imminently suffer and die, and not only find himself at the other end of a loaded gun, but also knowing that trigger of that gun would be pulled and the bullet would be fired directly at and upon Him. What’s more, is that there was absolutely no avoiding the gun or the bullet, for both were part of the divine will and plan of the living God. Both the suffering and death were ultimately part of the divine will and plan of God, and Jesus recognize and knew that the time for His suffering and death was quickly approaching. What’s more, is that instead of avoiding the city of Jerusalem, Jesus would actually embrace the journey to Jerusalem knowing that it would be in Jerusalem where He would ultimately fulfill the divine will, plan and purpose of the living God within his life. Jesus knew and understood that by journeying to Jerusalem He would position Himself in the place where He would finally fulfill and complete the divine will and purpose of the living God within His life, and ultimately for mankind, for it would be in Jerusalem where the will of God would ultimately be manifested. It’s quite interesting to note that it would be in the city of Jerusalem where Jesus would ultimately fulfill the will of God—despite the fact that it would be in Jerusalem where He would suffer and ultimately die at the hands of sinful men.

Now, you might be wondering what all of this has to do with you and me. You might be reading this entire writing and wonder what this could possible have to do with you and me in this present generation and why this is even relevant. The answer to this question is actually quite simple, for while it is true that Jesus reached the point within his life and ministry when He would find Himself staring down the barrel of a loaded gun knowing it would go off, we ourselves must reach the point within our lives when we live the same exact way. There might be a point within and during our walk and relationship with Jesus the Christ when we live our lives a certain way, however, there comes a point where we actually begin living our lives for the sole purpose of dying. LIVE LIKE YOU’RE DYING! LIVING TO DIE! It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the tremendous reality and concept that there must come a point and place within our life and ministry when we begin living our lives for the single and sole purpose of dying as we allow ourselves to be crucified with Jesus the Christ. I can’t help but be reminded of two distinct passages which are found within the writings of the apostle Paul. We have already spoken of and mentioned the words which Jesus spoke concerning those who would come after Him must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him, and it is now necessary for us to consider the words of the apostle Paul concerning our call to die, and our coming to terms with the fact that we must find and reach the point and place within our lives when we live our lives in order that we might die. Would it shock and surprise you to note that we have not been called to live our lives to save them, but rather to lose them and to give them away? This was what Jesus spoke of and declared immediately following speaking about denying oneself, taking up their cross, and following Him, for Jesus would transition to speaking concerning those who wished to save their lives would lose it, but those who were willing to lose their lives would find it. Consider if you will the words which are found in the writings of the apostle Paul—first within the sixth chapter of the epistle which was written unto the Romans, and second that which is found in the second chapter of the epistle which was written unto the churches in Galatia:

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For He that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead doeth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:3-14).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the rewinding of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

“..knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even as we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressors. For I throughly the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:16-21).

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but feel the strong tug and pull of the Spirit of the living God to be a people who are willing to make their way to their own Jerusalem—a people who will make their way to the place where they ultimately and finally fulfill the will and purpose of God for their lives. Would it shock you to note that Jesus didn’t ultimately fulfill the will of the Father until He entered Jerusalem and suffered at the hands of the religious leaders, and ultimately was crucified by the hands of sinners? Would it shock and surprise you to note and consider that you and I don’t ultimately and finally begin fulfilling the will of God for our lives until we reach the place where we live for the single and sole purpose of dying and allowing ourselves to be crucified? Would it shock and surprise you to note that you don’t truly begin living until you begin dying and begin allowing yourself to be crucified with Christ? I would dare say that there are men and women who have made the decision to walk with and follow Christ, however, they have not begun the process of ultimately and finally fulfilling the will of God for their lives until they make the decision to live in order that they might die. You and I cannot and will not begin fulfilling the will of God until we reach the point and place within our lives when we are no longer willing to live for ourselves, and are willing to live our lives in order that we might die. I would dare say that we don’t truly begin to live until we begin to lose our lives and until we begin to die as we take up our cross and allow ourselves to be crucified with Christ in order that we might no longer live, but He might live through us. Oh, you might have a desire to walk with Christ, and you might have a desire to follow Christ, and you might have a desire to fulfill the will of the Father, however, until and unless you are willing to live your life in order that you might die, you cannot and will not truly find and fulfill the will of God for your life. Please don’t be so naïve to think that you can fulfill the will of God will simultaneously holding on to, guarding and keeping your life to yourself. Jesus didn’t ultimately and finally fulfill the will of God and the purpose for which He came until He made His way to Jerusalem, was betrayed by Judas, began to suffer at the hands of religion, and ultimately be crucified by sinners. With that being said, we must recognize and understand that as much as Jesus spoke about suffering at the hands of religion and being crucified at the hands of sinners, He also spoke of resurrection and rising again on the third day. We find ourselves stepping into and fulfilling the will of God when we begin living in order that we might die, but we must also recognize and understand that at the other end of the gun, at the other end of the bullet, at the other end of the cross, and at the other end of the grave is resurrection and being raised from death to life. We live that we might die, but we die knowing that at the other end of the grave and on the other side of the stone there is resurrection life and a life completely different from the one we lost and gave up through death and crucifixion with Jesus the Christ.

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