One of the phrases that bugs me that people use is when they refer to “my cross to bear.” I’m guilty of using this phrase, but one day it struck me how flippantly we say it.
Jesus calls us to follow Him and that features the call to carry your cross. The cross was an instrument of tortuous death that brought shame and stigma to anyone associated with it. If you had a family member sentenced to death via crucifixion, it was socially unbearable.
Dying on a cross as a requirement to follow a rabbi from an obscure part of Israel? Jesus would not have been a great marketer by our advertising standards.
A “cross to bear” is a sacrifice that leads to building the Kingdom of God, not something trivial like balding or an old sports injury. It’s more radical, more revolutionary than that. When Jesus calls us to carry our cross every day, we understand that He isn’t commanding us to die for our sins. He’s got that more than covered. Jesus calls us to follow Him with our cross in tow because it’s a daily reminder that we need to continually die to self.
Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart. This is why the call to follow is so demanding.
The Good News is that Jesus is there to help us as we follow Him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30]
One of my favorite Waterdeep lyrics, from my favorite all-time album of EVER, is from their song “Get Me Clear.” It has a great Psalm-like prayer asking God to help us out of our own self-constructed prison and taking steps to follow Jesus. I’ve prayed similar things in my life; maybe it will help you focus and ready yourself to follow.
Though it’s against your nature to be impolite
Would You please break into my heart tonight
and steal away my fear?
Cause it’s within my nature to just sit and guard
And though the prison door’s open, I’m afraid to depart
I’m stuck right here
You gotta get me clear
Jesus opens those doors of our prison and invites us to follow.
Come on, already!
“The Road To The Cross” piece is by Fallon Connors and is one of my favorite paintings.