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The way of the cross—crucifying your own will in order to live for God’s will—is not a popular one in today’s culture. It requires a reorientation of our lives in order to transform them into holy, kingdom-shaped patterns. Jesus himself was tempted on numerous occasions to forfeit the Father’s vision for reconciling the world to himself, which required the march up to the cross, in exchange for an earthly kingdom attained through coercion and power. This is why the title Messiah, or Christ, was such a charged one. It reflected the mistaken way that God’s people were expecting him to break into history and rescue them. But Jesus’ way of fulfilling his calling as the Messiah not only provided the means by which to reconcile us to God, it also served as a powerful example for how his followers are to live.
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