In Luke 9:23, Jesus tells His disciples: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” When He spoke these words to them, they really had no idea what He was saying. But I’m guessing those words took on a whole new meaning as they watched Jesus, bloody and beaten carry the cross that He would soon be crucified on.
I don’t know about you, but I try to avoid pain whenever possible. And as creatures of comfort I think most of us gravitate towards those things that feel safe and secure. Now, in most cases, that seems pretty smart but as followers of Jesus we are often called to step out of our comfort zone and trust in the Lord.
Jesus was never about comfort. He willingly went to the cross. He willingly subjected Himself to public mockery, horrific beatings, and one of the most painful deaths a person can experience. This is the Son of God and He endured all of this for us.
At any moment, He could have walked away. At any moment, He could have called down legions of angels to rescue Him. But He didn’t. And that’s because Jesus knew it was the only way to restore our relationship with God.
And now to grow that relationship, He asks us to follow His example—to willingly pick up our cross every day. The only way to experience the abundant life that God has for us is to offer our lives back to Him as living sacrifices. He calls us to step out of our comfort zone and live the lives that follow His example.
As we take time to reflect on what Jesus did for us on this Good Friday, let’s take time to ask ourselves some tough questions: Have I been taking up my cross? Or am I clinging to the safe and secure? What does carrying the cross actually look like for me?
Lord, give us the courage and strength to take up our cross and help us to see the areas where we fall short and ask for Your help as we learn to follow you. –Amen