Sep 30

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“Take Up His Cross”

If you are a disciple of Jesus, then certainly you would want to know the meaning of “take up his cross.” Why? Because these words “said Jesus unto His disciples.”
What does it mean, then, to take up your cross? A glimpse of history during the life and times of Jesus will cast some light on this subject. J.W. McGarvey, in his commentary, mentions that the cross was not only a means of criminal execution, but also a symbol of dishonor. Barnes adds that part of their sentence was to carry the cross to the place of execution. In doing such, it was burdensome, disgraceful and trying to the feelings.
Thus, “to carry the cross” is a figurative expression of which denotes that we must endure whatever is burdensome, or trying, or considered as disgraceful in following Jesus. It consists of simply living the Christian life and doing our Christian duty. No matter what others may think, say or do to us, we must bear these things and continue on.
The context of this passage (vs:24-27) bears this out. Jesus said that if any one will come after Him, he must deny himself. When one falls under the weight of the ridicule of the world, he has not denied himself and, thus, did not bear his cross. The next verse (:25) describes the end result of those who could and those who could not carry the cross or the “shame.“ The one who tries to “save his life” (:25), that is, tries to “save face” in the eyes of the world (:26) by dropping the cross and forsake the following of Jesus, shall lose his life (:25), his soul (:26) and his good reward (:27).
God knows that there is and always will be pressure, ridicule, mockery and tribulation placed upon Christians from the people of the world. When we refuse to take part in some unwholesome activity, they ridicule us. When we preach the resurrected Christ, they mock us (Acts 17:32). When we follow Christ, they inflict tribulations upon us (Acts 14:22). This is one reason why Jesus told us to count the cost of following Him (Luke 14:28). The price of that cost is to forsake all (Luke 24:33) which includes, as our text says, denying ourselves and bearing up under these burdens.
If we wish to overcome this pressure, then let us ever keep on our minds that there is a God (Heb. 11:6), that the Bible is written by His inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16), that the Bible teaches that there is a coming Judgment (Heb. 9:27), that those who believe, love and obey God will be saved (Gal. 5:6) and those who “take up his cross” shall have his reward (Mat. 16:24-27).

Gary Henson

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