Greetings to God the Father, Son and Spirit, the blessed, wonderful angels (hi angels) and to all the saints in Christ. God is eternally transforming us into the image of Himself by various methods and one of these is the crucifixion of the flesh. He taught this to me around the 1/12/07 (for those in the Caribbean this was on Jan 12th). The scriptures teach us that we must suffer with Him in order to reign with Him and we find this in Rom 8:17 which says that if we are chldren, then we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” 2Ti 2:12 also agrees that “if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us”. Let us examine Christ’s life and see how He denied Himself or crucified Himself. This truth came home to me one day when I was browsing the scriptures and found Mt 16: 20 – 26. Here Jesus had just taught the disciples how he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders, and be killed and be raised again on the third day. Peter, ever enthusiastic, “took him and began to rebuke Him saying, “Lord, this shall not be unto thee”. Jesus turned and said unto Peter, “get thee behind me, Satan, for thou art an offense unto me, for thous savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men”. This was an insult! Here the disciple is being called satan, but Jesus recognized that His warfare was not with flesh and blood, but rather with principalities and powers. This attests to the importance of the ministry of the crucifixion as being key in accomplishing God’s will for our lives. Jesus THEN followed His rebuke with the following words in Matthew 16: 24-26- “if any man 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: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Any disciple must enter into His sufferings and carry a cross that leads to death of self. It was through His death that HE accomplished victory for the entire human race and it is also through the death of the flesh that we will accomplish victory over sin. This is equivalent to 1 Peter 3: 18 through 4: 1 -2 of which we spoke in detail when discussing fasting and the death of the flesh. Jesus Himself set the example first by taking on the nature of man rather than that of angels so that HE might identify with our sufferings and become our Faithful High Priest (He 2:16-18). He tasted temptation by allowing Himself to be tempted by the devil, but overcome by the word. He humbled Himself and became obedient to the death of the cross although He interceded earnestly in the Garden to escape such a humiliation. He crucified His need for love and belonging by giving up His affiliation with family and friends to do the will of God. He had to learn to fast in order to “know to refuse the evil and choose the good” (Isa 7: 15). He had to apply His own teachings of love and compassion for others by showing compassion to the multitudes even when He could not meet His own need for rest and comfort. He had to live a life of prayer, waking early or spending entire nights in prayer (Mt 19: 23, Mk 6: 48). He had to speak the words of His father and came to deliberately fulfill the words of the prophets. A few of these examples include Mk 11: 1-6 = Zech 9:9, Mt 12: 9-21 = Isa 42:3, Mt 13: 34,35 = Ps 49: 1-4; 78: 1-3, Mt 12: 13 = Isa 56:7. At another time I will show the relevance of His actual crucifixion to the things that we must suffer in order to reign with Him. Blessings!