The Walk: Week 4 – Day 2, “take up your cross daily.”
Week 4 – Day 2, “take up your cross daily.”
Luke 9:23 He said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. There is something interesting that comes through in the Greek. When he says, “take up your cross” he uses a form of the Greek that describes an event not a process. It’s a decision, a commitment that you make. But when he adds the word, “daily”, he tells you that you are going to have to make this same decision every day you live your life. You don’t have to go looking for a cross to bear. If you follow Christ truly you will find every day that you will have to choose to die to your comforts, die to your pleasures, die to your preferences, die to your security, die to your self.
I heard recently about some thieves who broke into the Church of the Holy Cross in New York City and unbolted a 4-foot-long, 200 pound plaster Jesus, taking the statue of Jesus but leaving his wooden cross on the wall. The caretaker said they just decided, “We’re just going to take Jesus and leave the cross behind.” That pretty much sums up what a lot of us are inclined to do doesn’t it? We want Jesus, his grace, but we might prefer to leave the cross, the cost, the suffering behind. If we want to follow Jesus we have to take up our cross daily.
In his book “WHAT JESUS DEMANDS FROM THE WORLD” John Piper talks about taking up our cross and gives the following outline
A. What does taking up the cross involve?
1. Walking by faith — it involves following Jesus when he is not here. Until Jesus comes again, he expects his disciples on earth to “follow” him. So following Jesus is not limited to physically walking around Palestine behind him. Jesus demands it of every person in every country in every age.
2. Fulfilling the great commission — it involves joining him in what he was sent to do. Gathering a people in allegiance to him for the glory of his Father
3. Embracing the cross before the glory — it involves following Jesus into suffering. Jesus put the emphasis on self-denial and cross-bearing
B. Why is it worth it to follow Jesus?
1. Suffering for Jesus with joy shows his supreme value. He did not die to make this life easy for us or prosperous. He died to remove every obstacle to our everlasting joy in making much of him – Jesus is more valuable than all the earthly rewards that the world lives for
2. Suffering for Jesus is temporary; pleasure in Jesus is eternal. Following Jesus does indeed lead through suffering and death. But the path is luminous with life and truth.
C. What can be the consequences of following Jesus?
Ruptures in various areas of our life… but these ruptures are not devastating
1. Ruptures in relationships with people. Might have to make some touch decisions when it comes to putting Jesus first; calls for behaviors that are sometimes going to look like hate to the world
2. Ruptures in relationships with possessions. If something gets in the way of following Jesus we must get rid of it
3. Ruptures in relationships with vocation. Won’t be required of most people. But will be very risky for others; look at how the initial disciples responded: immediate and complete commitment
Following Jesus is costly and worth it. Jesus is not out to trick us; calls on us to count the cost; but assures us that it is more than worth it. Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
What response does Piper’s outline raise in you? What questions might does it surface? What, if anything would you want to add to it?
Continue reading the Bible. Keep reading the gospel of John. If you are reading a lot and finish John consider reading Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians or Luke. Or ask the group or person you are doing The Walk with to make suggestions. The important thing is to try to be consistent in your reading. Write down your questions, thoughts and insights as you read. Don’t forget to review your memory verse from last week and this week.