Bear the Cross?

Mark 8:34-35
“And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his live will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.””

In the past, I think I have greatly misunderstood this passage. Bearing the cross has always had a ‘patient suffering in the face of hardship’ kind of ring in my mind. I think this is patently false. The people of Jesus’ day would have been able to tell you exactly what He meant when He spoke of taking up a cross and following Him. To bear the cross means that the next major event in your life is going to be a closed casket funeral. Yours.
The cross doesn’t ultimately mean suffering. What it means is death. I think we western Christians have fooled ourselves. We say “Jesus died for our sins so that we don’t have to!” This scripture alone lays that heresy in a shallow grave. Our death in Christ is the first part of the true Gospel! That we have new life in Christ, just as He rose to new life on the third day is the second. Our ultimate redemption at Christ’s second coming is the third. If I think I can truly follow Jesus without being slain then I haven’t read the Bible with my eyes open.
But then again… who really wants to die?

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6 Responses to Bear the Cross?

  1. Moore says:

    So here in the text when it says “loses his life for My sake” you would interpret this as originally intended to signify a non-physical death?

  2. ziggy says:

    Not necessarily, but many of the early Christians did lose their lives, along with almost all of the apostles. Makes you wonder.

  3. Dan says:

    ďJesus died for our sins so that we donít have to!Ē This scripture alone lays that heresy in a shallow grave. Our death in Christ is the first part of the true Gospel!

    Interesting, I hadn’t really though about it that way. It remains that death is a result of our sin (Romans 5:12) and thus we must die. But ‘taking up your cross’ would seem to be referring to death to sin and the flesh:

    I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

    Galatians 5:24 puts it very nicely:

    Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

    Thus, it is true that we must die to sin (Romans 6:11, 1 Peter 2:24), but does this mean we must still die for it?

  4. someguy says:

    I honestly don’t know what all that passage means, but I think the impact of that death to self is outlined in those same words. Christ’s purpose for coming to this planet was ultimately to die on the cross, to literally carry his own physical cross. To me, this verse speaks of living out a calling. The way that I have read this always seems to lay the rest of my life before me. Not only will I be attending my own funeral, but the purpose of the funeral is defined- I shall spend the rest of my days living out God’s calling for my life- or better said allowing God to live out His calling in my life. I always feel like simply focusing on the death to self tells only half of the story. The void that is left by the absence of self is clearly to be filled by God, this verse not only seems to communicate who is no longer in the driver’s seat, but also who replaces that driver.

    Moore, I don’t think the loss of one’s life here is a matter of death, but a matter of practices. One can lose his life by leaving behind all that is a part of his life. I think the mention of denial of self in the previous sentence serves to define the meaning of loss of life.

  5. Charlette says:

    I really like the article because itís something about Jesus.

  6. Leah says:

    You can learn about all this stuff at church.

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