Take Up Your Cross?
Jesus put risk like this: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23). Disciples are called to risk, to risk our lives, and to do it daily. This doesn’t have to be grandiose. Here’s why. In the Roman Empire it was ordinary for sentenced men to carry crosses to thier execution. Why? Bearing the cross publically displayed a criminal’s submission to the state, his humbling before the governing authorities.
It’s like wearing a sign that says: “You thought you could outwit the authorities, but we caught you and now you must humble yourself before us.” Taking up a cross, initially, isnt death; it is submission to the governing authorities. It’s about submission not crucifixtion.
Now, think about the implicaiton for taking up your cross. For a disciple to take up his cross, then, is not merely an act of self-denial but, more importantly, submission to Jesus as your governing Authority, as your Lord. It is saying “no” to being your own authority, following yourself, and yes to Jesus’ authority. No to your own will and yes to his will.
Where are you saying no, and how can you start saying yes? Perhaps you are saying no to your neighbors. No, you can’t come over. No, you can’t borrow my stuff. No you can’t eat my food, and no, you can’t hear the gospel! What if you reversed those nos to yeses? What if you actually submitted to Jesus’ command to love your nieghbor as yourself (Lev 19:18; Matt 19:19), and to not withhold any good from outsiders (Prov 3:17; 1 Pet 2:17)?
You would start saying: Yes, you can come over. Yes, you can borrow my stuff. Yes, you can eat my food, and yes, let me tell you why – the generous gospel of grace!