Image via WikipediaWhat it takes
When Jesus used this picture of his followers taking up their crosses to follow him, the disciples knew what he meant. Crucifixion was a common Roman (government and society) method of execution, and condemned criminals had to carry their crosses through the streets to the execution site. Following Jesus therefore, meant a true commitment, even to laying down their lives and no turning back.
In what area does this strike home to you now?
Jesus demands it from us.
(Lk. 9:23-26)”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.”
Christians follow their Lord by imitating his life and obeying his commands. To take up the cross meant to identify completely with Christ‘s message, even if it means death. We must deny our selfish desires to use our time and money our own way and to choose our own direction in life without regard to God‘s plan for us. Following Christ is costly now, but in the long run, it is well worth the pain and effort.
People are willing to pay a high price for something they value. Is it any surprise that Jesus would demand this much commitment from his followers? There are at least three conditions that must be met by people who want to follow Jesus. We must be willing to deny self, to take up our crosses, and to follow him. Anything less is superficial lip service.
If following Jesus is most important, you will find your self in unsafe, unhealthy, and uncomfortable places. You will risk death, but you will not fear it. Jesus’ disciples are not to use their lives on earth for their own pleasure – they should spend their lives serving God.
What does it mean specifically to you to: (a) deny yourself, (b) take up your cross daily, (c) follow Christ and (d) lose your life?