THE ROAD TO A CROSS
Strong and Secure One, You are my foundation. Establish the works of Your hands, Lord, rock-solid in me.
Read LUKE 9:18–27
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2,3).
When Jesus told his followers that if they wanted to be his disciples they must take up their cross daily, they began to understand that they were not being invited to join simply a joyful ministry of healing, miracles and lovely stories. They were familiar with the sight of the condemned carrying their crosses to a lingering and painful death, but this didn’t fit with the picture of the promised Messiah that many people had then: a triumphant leader who would restore Israel to her lost glory and free her from the Romans.
Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah was a moment of revelation (Matt. 16:15–17), yet it must have been hard for the disciples to understand why they should not tell anyone and why Jesus would suffer rejection by the religious leaders and be killed (21,22). Mark records that Peter actually rebuked Jesus for saying this (Mark 8:32).
How should we apply this teaching about taking up the cross to follow him? We, like Luke, are post-resurrection believers. We know who Jesus is and what he has done. We also know that we will have our share of this world’s trouble and suffering; that some hardships will arise because we do follow him; and that many fellow Christians suffer serious persecution. However, we are not passive sufferers simply waiting until “he comes in his glory” (26). Perhaps we should read “take up their cross daily and follow me” (23) as a call to challenge and change, where we can, the darkness, evil and distress around us. Following daily means bringing the message and the deeds of love to every place we inhabit and every person we meet, asking him to lead us and promising to follow, always acknowledging him, so that we are not ashamed (26).
Where can you stand courageously for Jesus today? Do so unashamedly.
Lord Jesus, You are the strong conqueror of sin, evil, and death. I need Your authority and strength to muscle out fear in my life.