The road Jesus took through life ultimately led to the cross. No one can deny that.
The road we must take as Christians is the same one. This is where the disagreements begin.
Yet, Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24 NASB). To follow Jesus, we must take the same road.
Some people would be glad to follow Jesus just as long as the road doesn’t lead to suffering. Then they’re ready to part ways with him. Yet, following Jesus always means this. “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,” (1 Peter 4:1 NASB).
The “prosperity gospel” doesn’t fit this, does it? With the prosperity gospel, you give and you get what you want. Jesus’ gospel teaches that if you give you will get tough times and persecution. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus,” (2 Timothy 2:3 ASV), and, “Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Everyone travels a road in this life. Christians travel the “road not taken” as Robert Frost called it. It is a road that leads to suffering, just as it did for our Lord.
The road home!
As a student at FHC many years ago, I was eager to preach anywhere people had enough perseverance to endure it. I had to travel over 100 miles to find such extraordinary saints. I made the trip in a old VW bug. The drive home took two hours and I remember that somewhere along the highway there was a lighted cross standing on a hill. Every time I saw it I thought to myself, “The way of the cross leads home.”
There is, in Sosnofka, Russia, about 750 miles east of Moscow, a lane that runs almost the length of the little town.
It begins just behind the hotel where Ralph Hart and I used to stay, and goes straight past the library and down through the town. After you pass the library, the lane is bordered by birch trees whose limbs form an archway over the road for about a quarter-mile. When it snows, the white flakes cover the tree branches and drift down on the road surface, enveloping the lane in a tunnel of white.
Walking there is like walking on a cloud. There are few cars in Sosnofka, so there is very little noise. Occasionally you may hear two friends walking and talking on the lane, but mostly it’s just very quiet.
I think of the lane often and of the people we met in that little town and if I’ll ever see any of them again in this life. Well, if not in this life, I look forward to seeing some of them in eternity.
(The picture is not the actual lane, though it is very close to what it looks like.)
My favorite road is the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to SIlverton, Colorado, because of the beautiful scenery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQu2aeCGk-E
Spiritually speaking, my favorite road is the road less traveled: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2009/12/27/choosing-the-road-less-traveled/
Hard to think of a single favorite road, but the Appian Way comes to mind right now (and most any Roman road…fascinating stuff).
Faith is the hand that reaches out
Accepting the love of God;
Guiding our every daily walk
As down life’s road we daily trod.
Faith is the hand that turns the key
To heaven’s golden door;
Leading to abundant joy
And life forever more.
—Ruth H. Underhill