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. Emily Gates says:

    I missed a few days and am catching up.
    I’m confident God wanted me to wait to read this. Life is hard. It’s ugly and messy. It’s full of honey do lists and pull ups for me. My anxiety takes over like you wouldn’t believe. But here, God tells me it’s a daily action to let Him lead me. It’s a simple act to let Him take control. So good.

  2. Natasha R says:

    Thank you Lord for leading Rebecca and the SRT team to prepare such a wonderful devotional for my day! It may be hard to take up my cross, and it can be extra heavy on some days, but I know that Jesus is always there if I need a helping hand!

  3. Beth Hinson says:

    I love that the idea of taking up your cross is a daily thing. I think it is so reflective of a Christ-like love in that you choose to love everyone around you everyday through various actions and we can show the Lord our love and reverence for Him by denying our own will to solely follow the miraculous will He has created for us.

  4. Natalia Phillips says:

    “But who do you say I am?”

    I have no doubt that Jesus knew what the disciples not only thought about Him but who they thought Him to be. Peter’s answer was indeed spot on, but I am curious as to what the other disciples had to say and whether they believed He was actually “The Christ of God.”

    Jesus came here to fulfilled God’s will for His life and to save us —people flawed, selfish, stubborn and full of sin. He trusted in God, in spite of the suffering, and was the ultimate example of dying of oneself daily. It’s important to remember that He was born a man into sin, as we were, and though the journey for Him was not an easy one, His faith in God and holding steadfast to what He was called to do allowed Him to save us and give us access to eternal life.

  5. Steph C says:

    “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Everyone. Who calls. On the name of the Lord. Will. Be. Saved. That is all. Nothing more need be said. The Father will save all who come to Him with repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you Father for giving me the gift of faith. Thank you for saving me.

  6. Sharon W says:


  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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