"Take Up His Cross"- Pictures from
Children's Bible Story Books.
TO CHEW ON: "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 10:39
Matthew 10 is mostly a set of instructions Jesus gave to His twelve disciples before sending them out to their Jewish neighbours. Their mission was to preach and demonstrate the nearness of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 10:7-8). By Jesus' instructions we can tell that the reaction to their message would be mixed. In other words this would be no sightseeing jaunt or cushy vacation.
In the end, this assignment seemed to be as much about the apprenticeship of the disciples as it was about the delivery of the Kingdom message to their countrymen. A warning that Jesus gave at least three times in this chapter was to expect opposition that would test their loyalties.
1. Their message and commitment to Jesus would get them in trouble with governing authorities to the extent of being forced to defend themselves before councils, governors, and kings. The will even be beaten (Matthew 10:17-20).
2. Their commitment to Jesus would test family ties. Jesus warned of treachery coming from even within their own households (Matthew 10:34-36).
3. Their commitment to Jesus would test their loyalty to themselves (Matthew 10:37-39). Jesus challenged His disciples to love Him more than their own lives. He couched it in the language of death — called it taking up one's cross. Such a thing probably doesn't ring many alarm bells in our society where crosses aren't used for execution. To get the shock value of His statement let's say it differently. How about: "He who does not take with him his lethal injection and follow Me is not worthy of Me"?
Jesus' warning words are a stark reminder of humanity's default reaction to the gospel. Therefore you and I shouldn't be surprised when people respond to the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven (and all it entails of mankind's sinful state, our need for redemption and the ultimate lordship of Jesus over our life and all of creation) with incredulity, challenge, confrontation, ultimatums, anger... In fact, we're probably naive if we don't expect it.
And personally, am I ready to kill that part of me that wants the world to accept me and like me? On top of that, am I ready to put to death that part of me that wants to do as I please in choice of vocation, relationships, how I spend my time, money etc.? Am I that loyal to Jesus?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Your description of true discipleship in this chapter is sobering and startling. I don't think I've begun to be a disciple like this. Please show me what it means in daily living. Amen.
MORE: "Jesus I My Cross Have Taken"
This Bob Dylan-esque rendition of this old hymn is from the second Indelible Grace CD, Pilgrim Days. I love it! Many verses that's why it's so long. Read along with the singers by following the link to the lyrics below.
Follow the lyrics as you listen
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.