Nik and Ruth Ripken remind us in their book The Insanity of God that there is no resurrection without crucifixion. We wish to go from the joy of the feeding of the five thousand on Galilee’s shores immediately to the celebration of Easter morning. But that is not the path the first disciples trod. And it’s not the one that God leads His people to follow either.
Jesus instructed His disciples to “take up their (own) cross daily, and follow Him.” We follow blood-stained footprints up Calvary’s mountain. Our way as believers was never promised to be without pain and questions. But the disciple’s way is riddled with suffering. We too must crucify our flesh with its passions and desires. We must put to death that which is of the flesh within us. We must deny ourselves and follow Him, even to death.
This is not a call for just an elite few. It is a call for every person who would follow Jesus. We take up our cross to follow Jesus. Here’s a few thoughts to ponder in line with this:
- God gives us a cross. We don’t choose our own. He presents it to us.
- We can choose to reject the cross that God presents. But we cannot choose to follow Jesus in the fullness of the life He offers if we say no.
- Our cross may not be the same. The things that need to die in our life may not be the same as the things that need to die in another Christian’s life.
- Cross-bearing is a lifelong process. We will never graduate beyond it.
- The cross and its bearing will usually scandalize us. Other’s cannot understand your cross, as those who walked with Jesus could not understand His.
If we follow Christ, it will involve a cross. Are you bearing yours?
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
FOR REFLECTION: What is the cross Jesus has called you to bear?