“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?