7649 - Your Cross

Listen

If we are going to follow Jesus, we must take up our cross.

As we consider taking up our crosses, remember that at the time these who were carrying crosses in reality were on the way to their own death. And each of us in following Jesus must be ready to have our desires die so they may be replaced by the Lord’s desires.

In Luke 9:23-26 we see the serious instruction Jesus has for us.

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

These words follow closely the first united declaration from the disciples that Jesus was indeed the Christ of God.

After this statement of faith from these disciples, Jesus then lays out the cost of following Him. “If anyone would come after me...” Notice that Jesus does not close the door to anyone. How gracious is the invitation — to ‘anyone.’ Male or female, rich or poor, without regard to nationality or tribal heritage. Jesus invites anyone to come to Him.

But there’s a sacrifice to be made. Self-denial is the first step. No one is allowed to define the conditions on which he will become a follower of Jesus
Quite the contrary, Jesus gives the conditions. First, a person must give up his own selfish ambitions for life. Personal dreams and aspirations must fade into the background.

A follower must take up his cross daily and follow Jesus. This is not the same as the cross of Jesus. This is the cross uniquely purposed for each individual. One may wonder what is the nature of ‘his’ cross. That’s a question which must be answered by God.

Jesus entered this world with one focus. That was to die as the only sufficient sacrifice for sin. Jesus accomplished many things — he healed many people, raised some from the dead, gave hope to the hopeless, and much more; but His cross was always the focus — the very purpose for His coming to earth.

For a follower of Jesus it means an acceptance of the task in life which God purposes for you. It means that we are to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It means we are to follow Christ in whatever path He would lead us to walk. It may lead to service in a far off culture so different to anything you have experienced. It may mean He wants to use you to nourish, teach and be a living example to children and youth. It may mean He wants to use you as a bold, conspicuous witness in an arena where others might be embarrassed or intimidated.

It may be any of countless tasks which requires you to trust and depend upon Jesus every step of the way; but, you can be sure that the reward of faithful, obedient service is rich and sweet.

Jesus says, ‘whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. The word ‘lose’ appears twice in this verse in the English, but they are two different Greek words. Here’s what they really say: “whoever wants to save his life will destroy it, but whoever forfeits or surrenders, or gives up his life for Jesus will actually save it.”

The following words indicate Jesus is contrasting a person who covets fortune, fame or power in the world, as contrasting to seeking spiritual service to God which brings eternal blessings.

Jesus is saying we are not to be concerned for what people think of us, but be yielded to God’s purpose and direction. We are to be focused upon accomplishing His will no matter what others may think.

And those who follow this life of unselfish devotion to the Lord in life will share in His glory for eternity.