Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Cross?

 If you don't carry your own cross as you follow me, you cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14:26

My cross?  Didn't you do that?  

Add this to the previous verse, which says to "hate" every other relationship, even hate your life and it is hard to imagine why anyone would be interested in being a disciple.  Yet, Luke does not tire of talking about this dying to self.

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow me.  If you try to hang onto your life, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  For what good will it benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?  Luke 9:23-25

There it is - that cross again. This theme is repeated in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

The word literally is a reference to that terrible instrument of death used on Jesus.  Did he mean that we all had to die to prove our Christian mettle?  

A deeper look at this word might come from cross' (stauros) base meaning.  The root word for stauros is hestame and it means to make a stand,  to be firmly resolute and establish a position of strength, to be unwavering.  It means to be on solid ground, safe and sound, and, resultantly, to not waiver.

Essentially, Jesus says we must be sure.  We must be sure with whom we are standing and for what we are standing.  We can't have one foot in "the world" and the other in the Kingdom.  We cannot serve two masters.  Like the stake which stood firm to uphold a dying man, our "stake" in the world must signify a serious "line in the sand" to reflect who we follow.  

That "line in the sand" might distinguish us from others, might cause us to be removed from others who do not follow the same path.  It causes us to look different and behave differently.  Paul called it "Put off" or "throw off" your old sinful nature and your former way of life and ... instead "Put on" your new nature...Ephesians 4:21-24.  This line in the sand needs to be deliberate and will result in a drastic new way of being.  There should be no doubt as to whom you belong, whom you follow.

Have you taken a stand? Does your marker clearly delineate which side you are on?  That is your cross!

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