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 (51)

51 thoughts on "Take Up Your Cross"

  1. Jennifer McElhannon says:

    I know I am 100% guilty of not putting God first in every aspect of my day. It’s hard to sacrifice the things you want to do when Christ has said we are to take up our cross DAILY.

    I don’t know if it’s just this verse, but I I have heard it a million times, “take up your cross and follow me.” I never recall hearing the word DAILY. Committing our lives to follow Him in every single way. We should obey all his Commandmenfs and be after Christ’s own heart. We should be make strides and efforts daily. Even small baby steps toward Him is better than falling off and into the way of Satan.

    God wants each and every one of us to take up our crosses and follow Him. I’ve been making huge strides in every day that comes. I’m nowhere near perfect—some days I don’t follow through and read my devotionals. But I have consistently gone back and played catch-Up on the days that I miss. I know how important it is to be in God’s word and to be surrounded by His love in every scripture—even some of those grueling chapters in Leviticus!

    So what am I doing today? I’m taking up my cross to follow alongside Him. Each day I will strive to do this. For anything done in God’s name is good news and his provisions endure forever.

  2. Brittney Boucher says:

    As I wait an important decision on a new work opportunity, today’s word really put things into perspective. A great reminder that my life’s work serves His will, and not ours.

  3. Meagan Riggs says:

    So much goodness to unpack in this. I loved how we first looked at how Jesus told them – when you’re not welcomed just “shake off their dust and move on.” And then brought to where the Lord tells us to deny ourselves. I know for me, I can get caught up in defending myself when I feel unwelcome, uninvited, or like people are attacking me. So taking those two things together and looking at the “shaking off the dust” (not defending myself) as fulfilling Jesus’ calling to deny myself together is new for me. And gosh, it’s not going to be easy but I already feel so much relief in that.

  4. Susan Martin says:

    I recommend the book, Free of Me: why life is better when it’s not about me. Author: Sharon Hide Miller. The book speaks to our problem of self-focus and gives practical steps to help us place God at the center of our lives. Great reflection type of book. It’s a keeper!

  5. Bunny says:

    SC, I understand what you are talking about. But my story is different, when my children took Biology in HS (the only year I didn’t homeschool) and it turned them both from God. I meet with the teacher and he was the total oppposite of your dad. So wish he had taugh my kids. I have faith that that will return, they are young and the lost sheep parable, keeps my hope up. It is truly wonderful the relationship you both have with Jesus. Thanks for sharing and I will add him to my prayer list.

  6. Lyna Ninkham says:

    How do we put aside our own will and follow God’s will for our lives? self-denial. and Jesus being that physical example of what that looks like as He picked up His cross (when He could’ve save Himself) to save man (who was also denying Him) from our sins.

    Reflecting and meditating on this today.

  7. Churchmouse says:

    If you could have any super power, what would you ask for?

    This is a pretty common question amongst children as they consider all the super heroes they’ve encountered through media. But maybe it’s also a good question for we adults to answer.

    What super power do I want to ask God to grant me? He’s already given me the Holy Spirit so I already have an advantage over a cape, a bat mobile and a spiders web.

    Today’s Scripture gave me my answer to that children’s question :
    The super power I’m requesting is to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow Jesus.

    Who knows how many just might come to a saving knowledge of Christ because of my words and actions? So…

    Today I will kneel and pray for this power, supernaturally available through the Holy Spirit.

    And I will don my cape of righteousness, get in my car and cast away the Truth of the Word for the salvation of friends and family. All to the glory of the Holder of all super powers, God alone.

    1. Cady R says:

      I always enjoy your posts. Thank you Churchmouse !

  8. SC says:

    My family had a close call today. Made me think of “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”

    My dad is a science teacher. That means sometimes, he has to teach Evolution even if he believes in Creation, and when he explains human physiology including birth, sensitive and controversial questions like abortion, genetic counseling come from students. Some are genuinely curious and create meaningful discussion, but there are times when they pick and twist his responses, report them to their parents, or to the principal saying he made a religious statement in classroom. He tries his best to make religiously/politically correct statements in class, but sometimes it feels unfair when he was just answering a student’s question.
    Thankfully, this time it was a false accusation and it went well. But we were anxiety-ridden! Every time it happens, my family’s hearts sink- what if he got fired? sued? Worse, what if this gets on news media and we face defending ourselves and our faith to the world? What happens to our livelihood?
    Keeping faith as Christians is getting harder, having to watch what we say and how we say it, just to live “normal” lives. How much of this counts as trying to “save his own life” and “ashamed of Jesus” when we truly do love Him and want to deny ourselves; if this should be the cross He asks our family to bear, will I stand firm (I hope so)? I respect my dad a lot and hope I don’t ever become a hindering block to him, as well as my own faith. Lord, I pray for stronger faith.

    1. Elaine Adams says:

      Praying for wisdom for your family when situations like that arise. But also remember how the Bible says that the perfect words will come to people at the exact time they need them, If they have faith. So i would pray those verses for your father if i were you, and just trust that God will keep his word.

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