Have we ever thought about that statement Jesus made: "Take up your cross, and follow me?" I mean, REALLY thought of it. Take up your cross isn't about taking up your gold adorned necklace, or that bible on your shelf, it isn't even about bearing a load. When Jesus said "Take up your cross," everyone who heard it knew what He meant: "We're all rebels, and we need to die to follow Jesus." You see, the Cross was a death for rebels. It was a painful, excruciating death that was kept for those who stood against the Roman Empire. It was to be impaled upon a tree, and suffocated, in pain and agony. It was a death that was often slow, and always cruel. It's a death that we need to die daily, because we, all of us, are rebels. Jesus told us to pick up our cross because He knew that we are creatures born in rebellion. Every action against God, every defiant "no," surrender to our flesh, is an act of sin against God. We need to recognize this. As I am writing this, I am listening to a wonderful talk about Pride verses brokenness. The Cross is ALL about brokenness. Brokenness is not a bad thing! Pride tells me "I am not wrong. I am great, I'm not as bad as so and so over there. I don't do all of these bad things, and I do all of these right things." Brokenness says "Have mercy on me, a sinner." The cross is about us coming to Christ and putting to death our rebellious hearts, dying in the flesh to be born again in the spirit, completely submitted to God. At the cross, we realize we are sinners, and need a savior, and we admit our sin, and cry out for our Savior. We take up our cross, denying ourselves, by admitting our sin, and submitting and surrendering to our savior. Revival begins in brokenness. The Cross breaks all who submit, only to reform them again in the Spirit in the newness of Life! God is so good. But we can only truly see as we take up our cross.
Luke 9:18-27 English Standard Version (ESV)
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
Jesus Foretells His Death
21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”