WHAT DOES JESUS REALLY MEAN WHEN HE SAID, “TAKE UP YOUR CROSS?”
The cross and Jesus Christ is known as our final gaze as believers. What exactly does Jesus mean when he said that every person who wants to follow him must “take up his cross?”
Every believer should know clearly that following Jesus is a huge responsibility that needs total submission and self-denial.
If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34 KJV)
Every word in the Bible is important, but there is something about the words spoken by Jesus that should stir up a believer to take up the cross without compromise.
Towards the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, he made another striking statement that got some confused. He said, “if anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it.”
READ ALSO: 10 Things God Promised Us About Heaven
What really does he have in mind by saying that every person who wants to follow him should “Take up his cross?” What does this phrase mean actually to his disciples? Was Jesus talking to them directly or to the crowd who came to hear him teach?
Obviously, He was talking to his disciples in order for them to be more dedicated and committed as he is about leaving the commission for them to carry on.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING WHEN JESUS SAID, “TAKE UP YOUR CROSS?”
In Mark 1-7 KJV, we can expressly simplify Jesus’ ministry by saying he healed, restored, performed miracles, and taught. He was always met with the crowd wherever he went and had a small group of people he formed more personal relationships with.
People were greatly amazed at the kind of wisdom he got whenever he taught. Because of this, a lot of questions were asked whether he is the expected Messiah or not. Some loved him while some disliked him.
In Mark 10:45 KJV he mentioned this again by summing it up in one verse, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
USEFUL ARTICLE: Discover Your Destiny And Fulfil Purpose In Easy Steps
Jesus used this phrase to correct his followers’ understanding of who he was and why he came.
They thought he came to reign, he told them he came to die. And they themselves must be willing to lose their lives for the sake of the gospel.
Jesus’s message on taking up “the cross” was not meant only for his disciples but to other people who might be interested in following him when he is no more. This implies that it is a message for all.
When Jesus took up the cross, he carried the instrument of death. He was a willful participant in giving his life up for the sake of the world. He was consenting to suffering, humiliation, torture and ultimately his death.
Of the four commands Jesus gave in this verse, this is certainly the most troubling one. Nothing about consenting to pain and humiliation is natural or acceptable for us. This is why the words that follow the command to take up our own crosses are so comforting. He said, “and follow me.”
He did this first. He did it best. He gave the most, sacrificing all. When we take up our crosses we choose to feel discomfort, pain, rejection, suffering, and even death for the sake of Jesus and the message of the gospel.
REASONS WHY WE SHOULD TAKE UP OUR CROSS.
Choosing to take up our cross is a personal decision that we need to take. There are many things that we need to set aside as a distraction like SELF, PLEASURES OF THIS WORLD AND LUST FOR MONEY.
Although, this might sound awful to hear, but this is the way to the cross. Know that whatever we lose is gained in Christ totally.
Apostle Paul was also a great disciple of Christ, apart from the twelve disciples, that denied himself a lot of worldly pleasures in order to take up his cross.
In Phillippians 3:8 KJV, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”
Finally, choose to be a willing participant in the hard and holy work of denying self that you may gain Christ.
I pray that even now, God is revealing Himself to you, in a way that you will take up your cross. Be blessed.