Day 11

Take Up Your Cross

from the Luke reading plan


Luke 9:1-27, Acts 13:44-52, Romans 10:1-15

BY Rebecca Faires

In the quiet following the large-scale, miraculous feeding of the five thousand, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do the crowds say that I am?… Who do you say that I am?” (Luke 9:20).

Everyone had their own version of who Jesus was. Many, like Herod, were curious but perplexed. Others believed Him to be Elijah, a prophet of old, or a resurrected John the Baptist. And I can’t blame them, because even with all the prophecy and typology in the Old Testament, no one had ever seen the Messiah. Jesus as Messiah was a completely new kind of being.

But good old Peter jumps right in with the correct Sunday-school answer: “God’s Messiah.” Bam! Atta boy, Peter. But even Peter’s confession was revealed to him, not by flesh and blood, but by the heavenly Father (Matthew 16:17). Even Peter needed help sorting out the right answer.

And who is God’s Messiah? What does this designation mean? The true Messiah would be the One who would suffer and die for the sins of God’s people, and after three days rise again, though not even Peter had understood that much. The Messiah was not merely one of the prophets, or Elijah, or John. He was the One for whom John prepared the way in the wilderness. We have the advantage of history on our side, knowing that Jesus did suffer, die, and rise again. And we can use that advantage to answer with Peter, “You are God’s Messiah.”

What should we do with this information? Right away Jesus follows Peter’s confession with: “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Since I don’t have a physical, wooden cross handy, I can’t help but wonder, What does it means to “take up your cross”? Jesus laid aside His glory to bear the cross to Calvary; this was His greatest act of self-denial and obedience to the Father. It is self-denial for the glory of God.

In the same way, He calls us to set aside our own wills and be fully devoted to the Father’s will. Here’s the sticking point: This is the hardest thing on earth to do. I love doing my own will. It’s my favorite thing. And Jesus specifies that taking up one’s cross is a daily action. With the apostle Paul, our response to the risen Messiah is to die to ourselves daily (1 Corinthians 15:31). So every day, we are called to do the absolute hardest thing in the world—die to ourselves and set aside what we want.

We’re all like Peter; we can blurt out Sunday-school answers, but the very next minute, we need someone to say to us: “Get behind me Satan!” (Matthew 16:23). We aren’t able to set aside our own will so easily. So how do we take up our cross? We simply take up Christ. We fall at the beautiful feet of the One who has brought us the good news of the gospel (Romans 10:15). We cling to Him, leaning on His perfect righteousness, day after day.

Post Comments (57)

57 thoughts on "Take Up Your Cross"

  1. Daisy Wyatt says:

    Oh boy did I need the reassurance of this reading. I’m a dental student right now. I live alone in a house that I’m supposed to take care of, inside and out, in addition to carrying about 30+ credit hours of classes, having a 100lb dog that needs love and daily exercise, and having all my studying that needs attention after I’ve been at school all day, in addition to trying to take care of myself too. So many nights I find myself exhausted and overwhelmed, and the battle of “do I relax and ignore my duties and obligations for a while?” or “do I bite the bullet and try to prioritize and start chipping away at all I need to do?” is very real for me. I know this may sound silly to someone reading, but it feels like an impossible amount of responsibilities on my plate. Something is always going to get dropped. I’m reminded of my mother, and mothers everywhere for that matter, who give their all, day after day, to make sure their kids are cared for and have everything they need to succeed, in addition to working, managing a household, and every other thing that moms miraculously find time to do, despite their exhaustion and aching bodies. I need that kind of resolve and dedication to my task because I know God has brought me to this season in life for a reason and that He’s equipping me to fulfill a purpose He has planned for me. I just don’t know what it is yet.

  2. Kierra says:

    My favorite verse from this reading was Romans 10:14 (NLT) “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” When we choose to follow christ, when we choose to pick up our crosses and let the will of God lead, without even trying, we are telling others about Christ. Just that simple action of letting Christ lead us may inspire someone who’s watching to do the same.

  3. emma zenger says:

    everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will. be. saved. EVERYONE. – this is something that I have lost sight of, despite the fact that I am not worthy of his salvation and his love, he PROMISES that everyone who calls His name will be saved. so, once again I find myself resting on His promise to me. I am not worthy, yet He welcomes me.

  4. Stephanie D says:

    “I love doing my own will. It’s my favorite thing.” YES. This is so real!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *