Regarding Matthew 10:38: What is it to take a cross and follow Christ today?

We see the cross today as the jagged, wooden instrument used in putting to death Jesus Christ our Savior. Yet before His followers had even a slight idea that Jesus would die by that manner, Jesus spoke of the cross. As He stood near the Sea of Galilee, He prepared the disciples to teach "the lost
sheep of the house of Israel
" (Matthew 10:6). Jesus told them, "He who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:38).

These men did not connect the cross with Jesus' approaching death, but they did know what a cross signified. Crucifixions were a common method of execution. The disciples had a vivid picture of the agony, punishment, and misery that death by crucifixion represented. Taking up a cross meant walking and enduring life's toughest road, especially the road of living the Christian life in such an ungodly world.

So why was Jesus promoting cross-bearing? Because He wanted disciples who were willing to face the difficulties it would take to serve His cause. It would not be long before Jesus would be killed and His disciples would have to carry on His message. To stand against the forces that would seek to put an end to the gospel would take total commitment.

Is not that still our challenge today? Are we willing to take up the cross and serve Christ our Savior in total commitment? The mission is great, but it is everlastingly rewarding.

by Shane Williams

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Trials
Questions and Answers regarding Terminology in the Bible