Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Several Sundays ago, Pastor Wallace's sermon focused on Jesus' command to "take up the cross". In the minds of His disciples, this statement would have conjured up repulsive, gruesome images of the Roman practice of crucifixion, reserved for only the most heinous of criminals and enemies of the state. It certainly didn't connect with their preconceived notions of a Messiah come to put the world to right.
Can't you just hear the mumblings and murmurings among the Twelve?
"Take up a cross? Has He lost His marbles?"
"What does He mean by this take-up-the-cross business?"
"I thought the Lord was all about healing and forgiveness. Why would He lead us down a path of destruction?"
"Certainly, Jesus would never go to the cross!"
"And, expect us to follow Him? Really?"
"But, He said, if we don't, we aren't worthy of Him."
"I don't get it . . ."
And, sometimes, neither do we.
As Pastor Wallace pointed out, we cannot pick and choose the cross we bear in this life. We might want the glittery, gem-encrusted cross of a seamless, successful Pollyanna life, but be handed the old rugged one, gnarled and contorted with illness, disappointments, and heartbreak. It's not the cross we get; it's all in how we bear it.
When we remember that Jesus took up the burden of the cross, impossibly weighted with all our sins, for us, we can find the strength and grace to carry our crosses, faithfully and courageously, through life. We can lift them high to Him whom we follow in faith and hope. We can become worthy.
What cross do you bear today?
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