BIBLE READING: LUKE 9:23-25; 57-62; LUKE 14:27
“And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:38 (AMP).
What does it mean to take up your Cross and follow Jesus? The phrase “a Cross to bear” is a popular derivation of the words of Jesus: “Take up your Cross and follow Me.” While the phrase is commonly understood to mean acceptance of some burdensome task, the command to take up one’s Cross is much more than a symbol of the difficulties experienced by humanity. Any person, whether a follower of Jesus or not, will suffer frustration and pain in this life. Taking up one’s Cross and following Jesus is something completely different.
The Cross was an instrument of Death. What Jesus is referring to is commitment to Him, even unto death—It is total obedience and willingness to die in pursuit of obedience. Death on the Cross was not pleasant, it was painful and humiliating. The implication is that even if obedience is painful and humiliating, we should be willing to endure it for Christ.
In Luke 9:57-62, three different men expressed a willingness to follow Jesus. When Jesus informed each of them of the price they would pay to follow Him, it was self-evident that their willingness was ill-considered. They had not counted the cost of following Him. None of them was willing to take up his cross and forsake his own interests for Christ’s. It seems clear that then and now, people always struggle to put their own ideas, plans, ambitions and desires to death and exchange them for His.
Have you ever wondered if you would be like these men? Consider these questions:
• Would you still follow Jesus if it meant losing your closest friends?
• Would you still follow Jesus if it meant alienation from your family?
• Would you still follow Jesus if it meant the loss of your reputation?
• Would you still follow Jesus if it meant losing your job?
• Would you still follow Jesus if it meant losing your life?
Taking up our Cross to follow Christ simply means, commitment to the point of giving up our hopes, dreams, possessions, even our very life if need be. This is the attitude – the only acceptable attitude – of a true disciple (see Luke 14:27). Jesus’ followers regard the reward as worth the price. Jesus set the example for us in His death in order to give us the Gift of Life: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My Sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25 NKJV).
Father, in the name of Jesus, I receive Grace to carry my Cross daily and follow Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your Divine Enablement in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.