Q: From FollowTheKing: What does the phrase “‘take up your cross’ in Luke 9:23 mean?”
A: At face value the passage “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” has some evident implications that Scripture as a whole helps us to flesh out.
We know Jesus Christ went up on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins and in doing so He displayed what has been defined by the very “Author of life” as the greatest act of love (Jn. 15:13)! Some say that commodities such as gold or silver only have imputed value because people are prepared and willing to pay money for it. In contrast if people were not willing to put even a dime forward for a pound of gold or silver it would be utterly worthless! Thus, it is the price we are willing to pay that determines the value and very well has Michael Ramsdem of RZIM pointed out that God was prepared and willing to display the value He created us in, by sending His Son to pay the highest price He could have possibly paid…Giving His beloved life on the cross. How’s that for determining the value God has placed on us!
When the disciples heard Jesus repeatedly tell them to deny self or take up the cross they were ignorant of the fact that Jesus would soon hang upon the cross as sacrifice on their behalf. To them the image of the cross no more meaning than death and an excruciating death at that! An interesting note on that… The word “excruciating” finds it’s origin in the Latin word excruciatus, which literally means “out of the cross!” To the disciples they knew this meant to give up everything but I wonder if they thought of it terms of a sacrifice at the altar. Peter and Andrew gave up fishing (Mt. 4:18-20), Matthew gave up a profession in money handling money (Mt. 10:3) while others refused to do the same (Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 10:21-22).
Taking things further we learn what the disciples would eventually learn as well. Denying self and taking up the cross to follow after Jesus was to be a living and breathing sacrifice for His namesake. Just as Jesus Christ was a sacrifice once and for all (Heb. 10:10) He was calling us to be what Paul breaks down in Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
So next time we get selfish it would be good to remember that as believers we are not our own (1 Cor 6:20), we have died to the old person with Christ on the cross (Rom. 6:8; Col. 2:20) and now we are called to be a living sacrifice which is the greatest love and obedience to the Almighty (Jn. 15:13; Mt. 22:38).
Posted By: Chad Williams “Street Apologetics”