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)
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. 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.
To pick up our 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.