One day Jesus pulled a snap quiz on the disciples to see if they had been listening and observing. Who am I? Peter got it: the Messiah. Right you are, Peter; now here’s what you don’t know. This Messiah will be betrayed, denied, mistreated and killed?and in three days rise. And in case that wasn’t enough for the poor disciples to digest, Jesus went on to tell them that any who followed him should expect the same.
I don’t know how many times I hear it: “Oh, it’s the cross I have to bear.” This in reference to some nagging pain, or a busybody neighbour, annoying workmate, disobedient child or whatever. Well, it’s not. When Jesus said that we must take up our cross, he meant that we are to live our lives in such a way that all our words and deeds reflect Jesus’ life of justice, righteousness, peace, humility, sacrifice and forgiveness. It means we don’t go with the flow but we identify and cast out the demons we encounter along the way. It won’t be popular. It may be lonely. It will be a cross.
But on that path, Jesus walks with us.
Lord Jesus, give me strength, faith and courage to take up the cross and follow you. Amen. — DAB