Lent ‘11

Many people interpret “cross” as some burden they must carry in their lives:

– a strained relationship,

– a thankless job,

– a physical illness.

With self-pitying pride-

– they say, “That’s my cross I have to carry.”

Such an interpretation is not what Jesus meant when He said:

“Take up your cross and follow Me.”

When Jesus carried His cross up Golgotha to be crucified-

– no one was thinking of the cross as symbolic of a burden to carry.

To a person in the first-century, the cross meant one thing and one thing only:

– death by the most painful and humiliating means human beings could develop.

Two thousand years later-

Christians view the cross as a cherished symbol of atonement, forgiveness, grace, and love.

But in Jesus’ day-

– the cross represented nothing but torturous death.

Because the Romans forced convicted criminals to carry their own crosses to the place of crucifixion, bearing a cross meant carrying their own execution device while facing ridicule along the way to death.

Therefore-

“Take up your cross and follow Me” means being willing to die in order to follow Jesus.

This is called “dying to self.”

It’s a call to absolute surrender.

After each time Jesus commanded cross bearing-

He said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” Luke 9:24-25.

Although the call is tough-

– the reward is matchless!

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