Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus23 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)
38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:38 (ESV)
On the day we call Good Friday Jesus went to the cross and His perfect life was sacrificed for our sins. Jesus spoke these words in Matthew and Luke before any of his followers knew about the cross that Jesus would bear on their/our behalf. We as believers today have the benefit of knowing the before and after of this world and life changing event. What does it mean for us to take up our cross and follow Jesus daily? Jesus calls us to total commitment in following Him.
Christ lives in us and as we proclaim and live our lives following Him daily we should not be surprised if we are treated as poorly as Christ was treated. It is not easy to follow Christ. It is not easy to pick up a cross and carry it, especially Jesus' cross. Jesus told His disciples on the night he was betrayed that He was sending a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who would help them, comfort them, convict and teach.
I think the key to taking up our cross and following Jesus is in our dependence on the Holy Spirit and His work in us and in the world, convicting those we witness to of their sin and need of a Savior. Any sorrow and persecution we endure on Christ's behalf will end in pure joy. Our joy begins with our salvation because of what Christ accomplished on the cross and it ends in the fullness we will experience when we see Him face to face. In between we will suffer but not a suffering that is futile.
John 16:33 (ESV) "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."