And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. – Luke 9:23 (ESV-CE)
Imagine that you are living in first century Israel. The Roman Empire is in control of the area, and a means of torture and execution used is crucifixion. The cross was seen as an instrument of torture and death, and was highly feared. Then out of nowhere you hear Jesus say “Take up your cross and follow me.”
It was a frightening proposition, because Jesus is asking us to deny ourselves. In other words, Christ is asking us to become disciples.
In our culture the cross is something cool. It is on T-shirts, and worn as jewelry, but in ancient times it was feared. The early Christians died for what the cross had come to mean. They died because they were followers of Christ.
They denied themselves to follow Christ at all costs; they took up their cross daily, and sometimes literally. Are we saying that we are following Christ, but our lives are showing little evidence of it?
We may be leaving our cross at home a little too often. If we desire to change our cities, churches, and world then that cross needs to be hoisted over our shoulders all the time. Christ must be who we are looking to, and we must put our wants a distant second. We must become better disciples who help make other disciples.
Taking Up The Cross Is A Daily EndeavorTo take up your cross is a daily endeavor that must be repeated. Every day we are telling Christ to take the lead and we will follow. This may lead to something that is uncomfortable like being a pastor, missionary, or simply showing love to the neighbor who never pulls the weeds.
The words of Christ in today’s verse apply to all of us in some way. What cross are you being told to bare? Will you answer the call to obediently take it up and spread the cause of the faith?
As you pray about today’s passage I want you to know something else vitally important. It is ok to ask for his help. After all that is exactly what the disciples asked of Christ in Luke 17:5. Take up your cross. That is the Lord’s command for all of us. God bless you!
Lord Jesus help me to be obedient to your words in today’s verse. Show me the way I should go and help me to trust you with everything.
Saint Quotes To Ponder
How precious the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise, but opens the way for our return. – St. Theodore the Studite
God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering. – St. Augustine
If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth. – St. Thomas Aquinas
Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent.- St. John of the Cross