[Jesus] 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.” (Luke 9:23-24)
The audience our Lord was speaking to knew well what this meant. In the Roman Empire, a condemned criminal or captive was forced to carry the beam of his own cross to the place of execution. Jews and Gentiles alike had witnessed this ghastly scene countless times as condemned men dragged their crosses through the streets of the city.
Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38)
The Christian cross is not a choice; it has been prepared by our Prince, and we are to take it up as a badge of honor—not a burden of horror. Each day we are commanded by Christ to submit our shoulder to that beautiful beam, which is designed to crucify the self and exalt our Savior.
Jesus led the way in cross-bearing for every Christian to follow. “Christ suffered for you,” the Scriptures explain, “leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). What better way to identify with our Captain than to carry our own cross on the way to glory?
Make no mistake; as it was then, it is also today. The Via Crucis [Latin for the Way of the Cross] is the way of safety and security because our Savior has gone before us. We need not fear nor faint as we tread its thorny paths, because they lead us to our Lord. As we have surrendered to Christ, we must surrender to our cross, bearing its burden by the power of the Holy Spirit. As we follow the Crucified One, we too must be crucified as God conforms us into the image and likeness of Christ.
So . . . do you accept the calling of your cross today? Divine will says it is for God’s glory and your good. Let those two truths strengthen you under the weight of your cross as you make your way, by God’s grace, to the Celestial City where the One who carried the cross before you waits to greet you with open arms and nail-scarred hands.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!