My Cross to Bear
October 20, 2020
And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:38).
What is your cross to bear? My grandmother said her cross to bear was grandpa! Some believe their cross to bear is an illness or physical or mental disability. Some even think it’s their job. None of these define the ‘cross’ that Jesus was talking about.
Context is important to understand the meaning of the text. In John 19:16-17 we read, So he (Pilate) then handed Him over to them to be crucified. They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. Matthew, Mark, and Luke state that Simon of Cyrene carried the cross, which means Jesus carried the cross part of the way to Golgotha and Simon carried it the rest of the way.
In the days of Jesus everyone knew the cross was an instrument of death. But it was more than that. It was an extremely painful, emotionally humiliating, and mentally cruel means of death. As an added measure of humiliation and cruelty the person was forced to carry his cross from the place of judgment to the place of execution. “To carry it was burdensome, was disgraceful, was trying to the feelings, was an addition to the punishment” (Albert Barnes).
Jesus said that a true disciple puts Him above every other affection and relationship in life, He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (v.37). He also told them that a true disciple puts Him above life itself (v.38). “A cross is the willing sacrifice of everything one has, including life, for the sake of Christ. It is something that, like the Lord Himself, a believer must take on himself when it is thrust upon him by the unbelieving world because of his relationship to God” (John MacArthur).
For the disciples to be able to complete their mission successfully, they had to be completely surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus and His instructions. The same is no less true for us today. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20).
Ministry is serious business. To be successful in any ministry one must die to self and let Jesus live in and through the minister. He is the Lord. We are His servants. The ministry belongs to Him. The fruit of ministry is to His glory alone.
“Lord Jesus, remind me daily that my place in Your kingdom’s work is to serve You as You have called and equipped me. Remind me that I own nothing in Your kingdom. I am a steward called to manage Your affairs until You return to settle all accounts and reap the fruit of Your labor in and through me. To Your honor and glory I ask. Amen.”