“Taking up your cross”

Posted: April 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Man I finally saw the movie The Passion of the Christ for the first time last weekend. I always knew it was intense, but I really never realized just how intense it was until I sat there, speechless, watching it. This movie totally messed me up. The whole way through the movie I was just being reminded of Matthew 16:24, (Then Jesus said to his disciples, “if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”). I just kept hearing that verse over and over in my head.

I really had a realization that night. I realized that today, we made that verse so flowery and poetic to our Christianity. Countless times I’ve heard Pastors say things like “church, today is the day to pick up your cross and follow Jesus”. It’s meant to inspire, I get that, but I’m not sure most people truly understand what this verse is asking of us.

If you don’t understand it, man I encourage you to find the movie somewhere and take the 2 hours out of your life to watch it. I always knew the story of Jesus. That he was brought to the earth to die for our sins on the cross. I’ve read the stories in the Bible countless times where it tells the story of his life up to the point where he ascends to Heaven. But something happened inside me when I actually saw the events that led up to his crucifixion being played out on that television screen. I never saw the story and life of Jesus in that perspective.

Maybe I’m just naive, but I always understood Jesus to be this superhuman dude. Not this living, breathing, emotion filled human being that he was. To see him cry out to God in the garden, asking Him for mercy on what was about to be done (him being crucified) really got me.

He was spit on, hit, kicked, whipped, beaten with weapons that actually tore out his flesh. He had thorns placed on his head (they were more or less pressed into his skull), he was forced by those who were crucifying him to carry his cross throughout town after he was beaten and his body was broken, up to the place where he would die.Not exactly superhuman eh?

So what does it mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus? We’re not guaranteed this fabulous life after we accept Him into our hearts.  If that were the case, we would miss out on so much of His love and grace I think. Taking up your cross is dealing with getting persecuted and still remaining faithful to God. It’s not backing away from your Creator when things go downhill. It’s standing up for Christ when nobody around you will. It’s sacrificing you’re life, or placing your own self to the side to serve the Lord.

Jesus took up his cross. I think a lot of the times when the persecution by our class mates or co-workers come, we back away from our cross. It becomes exactly what the world wants it to become, a thing of shame. As I watched the scene where Jesus was carrying his cross to the hill where he would die, it broke my heart. He was human like us. He was beaten, yet he kept walking closer and closer to his death. Continuously being whipped and spit on. But he never walked away from the cross. Needless to say, I cried like a baby. He very easily could have not gone through with it, not been crucified, put himself before the Kingdom and lived a happy normal life and then died at an old age. But even through all the pain and social torment, he stuck with his cross. He picked it up and did what he knew his life was for.

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