Summary: We all have crosses to carry and we need to determine what our crosses are, what do I do with them and what will encourage me to carry my cross/
Today's scripture gives us the true meaning of discipleship. No parable, no allegory, no story...just to the point very plain sharp and poignantly truthful words from Jesus. We actually see two theologies here. A theology of Glory: or Show and tell; come and see the way a God is suppose to be glorified and act. The disciples up to this point had seen how Jesus was a God... he was healing, raising the dead, casting demons...all powerful.
The theology of the Cross showing the weakness of suffering in death. Come and see me die...come and die with me. It is the theology of saving your life while in this world, doing all the glory and joyous things versus those that suffer and carry the cross of world rejection and denial in order to have gain their eternal life. When Jesus starts to talk about his death, his suffering, his rejection, and ultimately his death, the disciples don't want to hear this...that isn't how a God behaves or is treated.
So Jesus tells them...you must be willing to have a theory of the cross before a theology of glory.
Deny yourself, pick up your cross, lose your life, it is no good to gain the world if you lose your soul.
As we march to Jerusalem this Easter season, we all have our crosses to bear. We are walking to Jerusalem, step by step and I can envision this walk with each Christian following Christ. Christ is leading the way and I can see that His cross is a heavy one, a big cross and one that weighs heavy on Him. I see the long line following Him. They are the ones that found the world unworthy. They all have one thing in common, from Jesus to the last follower. Even though they all look different, they have one thing in common. they are all cross bearers. One day each will trade their cross for a crown, From cross bearer to crown wearer. No cross- no crown, No pain, no gain.
Our chief business is to follow Christ. Jesus said to us: Take up your cross and follow me.
So, we need to ask several questions this morning: What is my cross, What should I do with it and what will persuade me to carry my cross?
First, in order to understand what your cross is, you must be a willing participant to carry the cross. You must believe what the cross stands for, you must be a believer that Jesus Christ died on the cross and arose again. You can't carry a cross if you don't believe in Jesus.
Because one of the crosses you will have to carry is the criticism and rebuke that you may receive as a follower of Jesus.
1. Family or friends may distance themselves from you. Maybe you were once the life of the drinking, carousing and worldly partying. Now you have a different party style.
2. As a teenager it is more difficult to share your cross because of the pressure to fit in, to be a part of a group or to develop friendships.
3. In your work or business, some of the crosses may be the alterations you may have to make that could lead to less profits or less paid. Working on Sunday or serving products and drinks that don't necessary glorify God.
4. Sometimes, however, the cross may be of a somewhat different kind. It may be the giving up of some pleasure, or habit, which has been peculiarly gratifying to you.
5. To some the cross may be poverty
6. To some the cross may be proneness to disease or a weak and fragile body.
We all know what our own cross is; and if our Heavenly Father has appointed it for us, we must take it up, and follow Christ.
The next question, we must ask is what am I to do with my cross?
Follow Christ, we all have our crosses to bear but we are to bear them for the Lord. we must follow Christ and you may say, Well, how do I know what to do?
What do we know about Christ? He taught, he preached and he loved. So, we are to do likewise. In order to teach, we must learn and in order to learn we must be willing to give ourselves to the scriptures, the church, give of our time and service. In order to preach, we must be willing to share the good news with others however we can. In order to love like Jesus, we must be willing to love our neighbors with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
It is our words of mission: Invite, Invest, disciple and deploy.
We are to carry our crosses in pride and glory for God. We are to let Jesus and others see our tenacity, our stick to it-ness and our obedience in carrying our crosses.