"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'" - Matthew 16:24

Today I'm reflecting on Matthew 16:24.  Too often we make too little of the Christian journey of discipleship (our following after Jesus).  Here we are reminded though that a call to follow after Jesus is conditional - we cannot simply take to the road.  We must first pick up our cross, and then follow after Jesus.

Jesus does not make a suggestion here.  He does say we should take up our cross, or we should consider taking up our cross, or we should go ahead and get started without our cross and later when we're more spiritual we can go ahead and pick up our cross.

No.  Jesus says that if we want to follow Him the first step is picking up our cross.

And why would a man carry a cross unless he was going to die?  The call to follow Jesus is a call to die.  The road before us is the same that laid before Jesus when He entered Jerusalem and saw the shadow of the cross looming before Him.  However, Jesus knew that the Father would do what He promised - raise Him to new life again through the power of His resurrection.  

When we pick up our cross and follow after Jesus we should expect no less.

We follow Jesus to Calvary where our worldly selves are crucified.  But we also follow Him to the place where He raises us to new life.

The cross before me, the world behind me;
The cross before me, the world behind me;
The cross before me, the world behind me;
No turning back, no turning back.


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