Luke 9:23And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Let me remind you: Jesus used the same word that describes His exaltation in glory to also to describe His death. So Jesus knew the power that is in the cross. Now we’re not talking about ”the cross”, per se. Sometimes people think of the cross as a magical thing. For example, they think that if you wear a cross it will protect you. That is superstition and that is not what we’re talking about.
The power of the cross is not in the cross itself, the power is in what happened at the cross. Jesus knew that the power of what happened on the cross would not only save us, it would also sanctify us. It would purify us.
Look again at what Jesus said in Luke 9:23: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”.
There have been all sorts of explanations about what this means. Some have said that the cross represents a burden that we have to carry in this life – eg. disability, illness, a difficult family member – while others argue the cross represents a sacrifice that God wants us to make – we need to ”carry our cross” for the Lord.
But only one thing happens on a cross – people die. So the cross represents death. If you’re a Christian, God will work in your life to bring you to the point where you die:
- where you no longer put yourself first,
- where you no longer manipulate,
- where you no longer try to control,
- where you die to yourself.
A dead person doesn’t criticize or grumble and complain or fight for his/her own way.
Jesus said that we should ”take up our cross daily” which means we need to die to ourselves. In fact, this is something that we need to do every day, perhaps many times a day – as many times as we need to do it.
To ”take up our cross” also means taking on an attitude of submission to God, lying down on the inside, coming to an inner condition of rest and peace because we’ve bowed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We’re allowing Jesus to be in control of our lives, we’re bowing down to Him as our God.
Thank God for the sanctifying power of the cross. The Apostle Paul gave us his testimony as an example to follow. He said “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
Reflect: Have you been crucified with Christ?
Dear Lord, thank you for the saving power of your cross. Thank you for the sanctifying power of the cross. Teach me to submit to you so that I may be filled with your Holy Spirit and may my life bring glory to you alone. Amen.