Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26)
Perhaps few words Jesus ever said had a greater impact upon His disciples than these. For them, a cross was not a piece of jewelry, but rather a place of torturous death. It was bad enough for Him to speak of His own cross, now He was referring to theirs. What could Jesus possibly have meant when He spoke of them bearing a cross?
We should note that Jesus said that each disciple would have to take up his or her cross ‘daily.’ No one can die ‘daily’ on a wooden cross. We can’t give up our physical life over and over again. For that reason, Jesus must have meant more than the way we would die.
Jesus said that the one who takes up their cross daily is the one who denies self. Walter Chantry wrote,
“Put to death self-importance, self-satisfaction, self-absorption, self-advancement, self-dependence. And ‘whosoever will lose his life for my sake.’ That’s it. Death to self-interest because you serve Christ’s honor! Even capitulation of those things which men call legitimate interests, for God’s glory!” (The Shadow of the Cross, p.25)
We should also note that Christ is not the one who puts to death our desires for self-importance, self-satisfaction, self-absorption, self-advancement, and self-dependence. The way these words were written indicates that we must do that to ourselves. Every day and in every situation, we must choose whether we are going to live for God’s glory or for our own.
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14
God bless you brethren.
* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.