Read: Luke 14:25-27
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27 ESV)
Today crosses are fashion statements. People were them casually with little regard for their semblance or significance. In Jesus’ era the cross was a multifaceted symbol of shame, disgust, torture, cruelty, and wickedness. That’s the kind of cross Jesus was taking about carrying.
In the years since Jesus said those words many many people have given their lives for their faith in Jesus. In the years to come more are certain to experience a similar fate. This isn’t what Jesus wants for his people. I can’t imagine that he enjoys seeing his followers suffer today any more than he did then. But it is possibility.
Even though fatal martyrdom is a pretty far removed threat from our comfortable American existence that doesn’t mean we don’t have our cross to carry. Your faith in Jesus will mark you. It will set you apart. Often if may label you the outcast. Some will think you a fool. You have to be ok with that. You may get passed up for a promotion because of your faith. You may get demoted because of your faith. You have to be ok with that.
Taking up cross doesn’t mean that we go looking for ways to voluntarily end our lives for the gospel. It also doesn’t mean that we neglect our obligations and responsibilities. Taking up your cross means that you are willing to willfully follow Jesus into whatever situation he leads you into regardless of the possible or probable outcome.