Take Up Your Cross

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24

The Gospel, as the Scriptures reveal, is that we are saved by grace through faith alone, because Jesus …

…was born to be our substitute under God’s Law;

…lived perfectly to be our righteousness by faith;

…died on the CROSS to forgive all the sins of all people of all time;

…rose from the dead after three days in order that we, too, might rise from the grave one day;

…and ascended into heaven with the promise that he would come back to take all believers in him to live in paradise.

You should notice that the cross is in the middle of the Gospel!

And Jesus would tell us that if we are to “come after” him (that is, follow him and do what he tells us to do) we need to deny ourselves and take up our own cross.

Certainly, Jesus is not telling us that in taking up our own cross we are to die for our own – or anyone else’s – sins.

Only Jesus could win the forgiveness of sins through his cross.

Still, a cross is part of our discipleship. And here is what I think Jesus means:

Jesus’ act was a sacrifice of himself for the lives of all others. In following him, we also need to sacrifice ourselves for others.

Not to save them. Only Jesus can do that. But to serve them.

The Gospel gives us the power to love God and love our neighbor. We love God by responding to his love for us and serve our neighbor.

When you see someone who needs help, help them.

Help someone carry their groceries out to their car.

Help someone cross the street or go up or down stairs.

Help a mom who is dealing with three impatient toddlers in the store.

Help a dad who is struggling with toddlers in the pew behind you.

Do all this without looking for reward or recognition. You are sacrificing your time, effort, and maybe money, in order to help them.

And you are doing this because God loves you and Jesus died to save you from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

This is what it means – at least in part – to take up your cross and follow Jesus.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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