Every so often we come across something in life that gets us thinking deeper. This past week I had this happen to me. I heard a verse that I've read and heard about thousands of times, but for whatever reason it stuck with me. It made me want to look it up to see if I could understand it better.
Matthew 16:24: "Then Jesus said to his disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
In Jesus' culture, when people heard the phrase "take up his cross and follow," they would visualize a person being forced to carry a physical cross through the streets as they were led by a Roman Soldier to be crucified. This was a very clear message sent by Rome: "This criminal rebelled against Rome and now he is in submission to Rome. He will die while in submission to Rome."
Could it be that when Jesus said, "take up your cross and follow me" that He was saying something similar? Could it be that when He says for us to carry our crosses and follow Him that He wants us to hear a clear message? He wants us to tell the world, "I rebelled against Jesus and now I am in submission to Him."
So often we associate taking up our crosses as a push for us to do more with our faith, to do better, to add to our spiritual list of disciplines. Instead, may we see it as a simple reminder that we are not our own. In our life, our work, when we take up our cross, may we show the world that we are in full submission to Christ.