Take Up Your Cross

Text: Luke 9:23

Jesus says we must take up our cross if we are to be His disciple. But how do we do this? Obviously, it involves sacrifice and a willingness to give one’s life. But to see what is demanded of us, it is helpful for us to look at what Jesus endured with His cross.

Begins with Complete Submission to God

  • In the garden before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed for the Father’s will to be done (Matthew 26:39) – does this mean Jesus desired to escape the cross? … no, otherwise He would have (Matthew 26:52-53)
  • Jesus laid down His life willingly (John 10:17-18) – He was not praying to be delivered from the cross, but through the cross (John 12:27; Mark 14:35)
  • Accomplished according to the Father’s will – His prayer was answered (Hebrews 5:7; Luke 22:42-43)
  • We must start with an attitude of complete submission to God (John 2:5; Matthew 28:19-20)
  • We may not know everything that’s required when we’re converted (Acts 16:33) – but as we learn, we must submit to God completely (Romans 12:1)

What Jesus Endured

  • Mental anguish (Matthew 26:38; Luke 22:44) – He knew what would happen (pain, betrayal, death); we will face similar things (2 Corinthians 4:16-17; Matthew 10:36; 2 Timothy 3:12); but we have peace (Philippians 4:6-7)
  • Betrayed and forsaken by companions (Luke 22:47-48; Matthew 26:56, 69-75) – either through a change in allegiance or a lack of faith; the same may happen to us (2 Timothy 4:10, 16-18); trust in God, not man
  • False testimony against Him, misrepresenting His words (Mark 14:55-57; John 2:19-21) – we can expect people to lie about us (Matthew 5:11-12); not easy to endure, but look to the reward
  • Mocking (Matthew 26:67-68; 27:27-31, 39-44) – He could have responded, but did not; we will be mocked for our faith; sometimes it is wise to answer, sometimes it is not (Proverbs 26:4-5)
  • Beatings (Matthew 26:67; 27:26, 30) – we must be willing to endure this (Galatians 6:17; 2 Corinthians 11:23-25)
  • Persecution from religious leaders (Matthew 26:65-66; John 19:6-7, 14-15) – based on their “law”; we will be persecuted by those who believe they are serving God (Acts 26:9-11; 23:1)
  • Persecution from civil leaders (John 19:10-11) – they have power for good (Romans 13:3-4), but this power is often abused
  • Being made a public spectacle (John 19:17, 23, 25) – He was publicly humiliated; no one likes to be embarrassed, but we must be willing to endure it (1 Corinthians 4:9-10; Hebrews 10:32-33)
  • Crucifixion – the worst form of death the Romans could invent; Jesus endured even this (Philippians 2:8); He is our example (Philippians 2:5)

What Jesus Did Not Endure

  • To the previous list, many will add that Jesus endured being forsaken by the Father (Matthew 27:46) – necessary because they believe Jesus took on our sins (1 John 1:5)
  • However, this is not what happened on the cross – despite all that Jesus endured, the Father was with Him
  • If the Father had to separate from Him because of sin, Jesus would have ceased to be God (Colossians 2:9)
  • If Jesus literally took on our sins, what sins do we need to be forgiven of? (Acts 22:16; 8:22-23) – this is Calvinism (unconditional election, irresistible grace)
  • Jesus’ question about being forsaken actually teaches that He was NOT forsaken (Psalm 22:1, 7-8, 16-18, 22-24) – appearance vs. reality; Jesus appeared to be forsaken by the Father, but in reality, the Father was with Him
  • The Lord will never leave us, no matter how bad our circumstances might be (Hebrews 13:5-6)

How to Be Crucified with Christ

  • If you are willing to endure all of these things, you can be crucified with Christ
  • How do we do that? … by being baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-4)
  • We then must take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23; Galatians 2:20) – be faithful until death (Revelation 2:10), including death if necessary

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