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. Kimberly Kober says:

    I needed this today. ❤️

  2. Beckie Dotson says:

    I don’t really know where else to turn right now. This study has been such a blessing to me in what seems to be the darkest of times. As I have spent more and more time in His word. I have heard God speak to me like never before. I moved my family to a whole new place when the perfect job opened up for me, we knew no one but have been blessed beyond blessed in so many ways. However, this is all marred by the one person who should be encouraging and supporting me doing the exact opposite, I am actually afraid to be in a meeting with them because all I get is destroyed and made to feel so guilty. I don’t have anyone I can talk to here who isn’t impartial to know whether I am being over sensitive or what I should do. I am so glad that I have learned to talk and listen to my Papi. I am loving the book of Luke and all it is teaching me. Without even realising, I have been challenged by how much Jesus prayed despite his relationship with His Father and the Spirit. He was as close as could be but He still took time to pray, and I for one am so thankful for the example He shares with us in His Word.

    1. Taylor MarieMay says:

      Praying for you, Beckie

    2. Cady R says:

      Prayers ! I hope you find your church to put down some roots and to have a welcoming community

  3. Lisa says:

    This came up on my feed today (God is so good to confirm His Word). Enjoy!

  4. Kirsten Belh says:

    “How do we take up our cross? We take up Christ..” Reminds me of my conversation with my daughter when she was discouraged. ” You don’t fight sin by looking at the sin. You fight sin by turning your gaze on Christ.” Good thoughts. Thank you.

    1. Andrea P says:


  5. Erica says:

    Such a good word!

  6. Alexis Maycock says:

    Daily allowing God to work in me without my help. Trusting that He is in control and all will be well. Thank you Lord for this reminder!

  7. Lauree Kelly says:

    This morning before my devotion time, I had devotion time with my 7-year-old granddaughter. Today I read her the story of Abraham’s obedience to God when he took Isaac up to sacrifice him. Abraham truly took up his cross with unbelievable faith. I think about him holding the knife up over his only son whom he loved almost as much as he loved Jesus. I had to just stop and think about how Abraham must have felt. Abraham took up his cross in a manner God has not asked me to do. It was a hard message for Bella to understand why God would ask Abraham to kill his son, and why Abraham was going to do that. Faith, obedience, trust, love, trial, and peace. Those words all describe what Abraham was doing and why. This ties into today’s lesson. I want to have that unshakable faith and obedience that Abraham showed. That looks different for each of us but Jesus gives us strength through the word to do that. Yesterday was my day off and I did my devotion but not with heart. I was lazy and it made me feel awful. Today I am going to pray that God gives me to the strength to speak to every customer kindly, to pray with the customer or for my customers, to be kind to the people I don’t like and to work as unto the Lord. I am raying that I too can take up my cross as Abraham did his.

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