To Take Up His Cross

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Yesterday's OYB reading led me to ask the question:

A thought occurs to me: what, exactly, does Jesus mean here by “cross”? What is it that we must take up in order to follow Him? I understand the denial of self, but what of the cross? The cross is a burden, a punishment, a symbol of sin; but do these things represent what Jesus calls us to “take up” in order to follow Him? Aren’t these the very things we give up to Him - the things He took upon Himself for us? So, if not these things, then what?

Commenter John responded:

16:24 Now the Lord Jesus plainly states what is involved in being His disciple: denial of self, cross-bearing, and following Him. To deny self is not the same as self-denial; it means to yield to His control so completely that self has no rights whatever. To take up the cross means the willingness to endure shame, suffering, and perhaps martyrdom for His sake; to die to sin, self, and the world. To follow Him means to live as He lived with all that involves of humility, poverty, compassion, love, grace, and every other godly virtue.

MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. 1997, c1995. Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

(Emphasis added)

Interesting thought; this commentary seems to say that for one to "take up his cross" really means to take up the Cross of Christ. That is, we take on the same suffering Christ endured and die to the very things for which Christ died. What an interesting paradigm: Christ died for our sins, so likewise we die to our sins. Christ suffered for our sins so that we might live; likewise we suffer for the cause of Christ, that Christ may be glorified in our lives. Christ endured the pain, suffering, and punishment for our sins; we allow our own sinful nature to be changed into His likeness, and our iniquities to be eradicated and replaced with His Spirit. He chose to endure all in order to fulfill and perfect our faith; we choose to throw off every sin and hindrance that sets itself against us and we choose to have faith in the one who conquored that sin and shame.

You know, we really do get the good end of this deal!

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One Response to “To Take Up His Cross”
  1. Jared says:

    What I love about that passage is the pronoun ‘his’ – ‘take up his cross’, not my cross.

    Christ bore the cross that was to have been ours. He took it upon himself, made it his, and paid our price. That cross is no longer ours; and we couldn’t bear it, if it were.

    It’s just a great passage.