Thoughts From a Young Man: “take up your cross” is a way of being

Luke 14:27 “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me CANNOT be my disciple.
If you think this verse is about ‘getting saved’ you are WRONG! (original is very harsh sorry about that)
That view

Jesus is not calling them to pursue an end, he is calling them to become like him.

Jesus is doing something normal among Jewish teachers. He is going about calling people to be his disciples. They will follow him learn his message and carry on after him. They will learn his ways.  Jesus is not calling them to pursue an end, he is calling them to become like him. Jerry Bridges says it wonderfully in Pursuit of Holiness 

God has not called us to a life of victory. God has called us to a life of obedience.

Therefore, to say this, carrying one’s cross, is how you are saved is wrong, because it is not Jesus’s point. If carried to it’s logical end, without sufficient grounding in faith, carrying the cross becomes a work, a thing you do, and that absolutely is not true. This is not to say effort is not required, it is. It is not an effort of an unaffected will. It is the effort of a will, produced from a heart being molded after the image of Christ. We miss this due to a problem of how we read the scriptures.

A Problem with Our View

We have a problem here. We view this anachronistically, meaning we view it with something in our understanding that is from a time later than when it was being taught. Essentially, because we don’t think, we are inserting an event into this passage that had not happened; we don’t understand rightly. What we insert is Jesus on the cross, along with a lot more, but Jesus had not yet died! This IS a foreshadowing of the death he will die but the people don’t see that yet. We must use the cross as our filter for what we read but we must understand what was being said before we can rightly apply the cross.

What Jesus is Saying

What is Jesus then saying? He like many teachers would be calling disciples, though if what Matt Chandler says on the process is correct, Jesus is doing it differently. He is calling any who will follow. Other teachers like Gamaliel, Paul’s teacher (the best of only only a few master rabbi, his teacher, Hillel, one of the others) would select only the brightest from the ‘academy’ Paul, to be their disciples. In this Jesus is a bit different not because he is out among those already rejected by best teachers (that happened) but because he has since he was 12 he has been humbly schooling the teachers. He has shown great knowledge and great authority and now he is taking disciples from those on the short end of the education stick. He is not taking those devoted students who HAVE ALREADY given their lives to be disciples. He is taking those WHO WOULD NOT give their lives to be disciples. He is taking those who are poor, humble, sinners, rejected by the teachers to be his students. Odd for sure. That is what I took from Chandler (I want to study that more). Here is what I see.
As odd as that is he is also saying follow me to the death. Again that is not unheard of: especially considering they are expecting him to over throw the Romans. What is shocking is it is not by sword. It is not an honorable death. It is the death of wicked evil men whom GOD has accursed. It is not death alone. No one simply dies on a cross by chance. A man died on a cross for a life of wickedness for which there is neither repentance nor forgiveness. The cross is merely the end of life lived for self. Yet it is a punishment applied not by worthy God fearing men but other wicked men, haters of God and goodness, lovers of self, son’s of the evil one Satan, children of wrath.

He is calling all who will live for uncrushble delight in God the Father.

Jesus is calling men to live in such a manner as himself; as beacon of the light of God. He is calling all who will live for uncrushble delight in God the Father. Laying aside self, for, it will never deliver unending sinless pleasure of delight in God. Jesus is calling all who will live for closeness to God no matter the costs and the costs are great! Christ says the costs are EVERYTHING you are and have so that you will have all that is Christ. Discipleship of Christ is becoming like him Romans 8:28. As he left the side of his father in heaven to take on the flesh of men that he would live in obedience tot he point of dying, a sinner’s death, so that in his rising again he would grant eternal life to all who believe we also must leave what we have in this world for obedience to the father! The cost of his radical obedience was his life. Following the Christ is being buried with him that we may also be raised with him. He was buried because he lived a life of light among the dead and in the words of Dr. Russell Moore was “stapled to a tree” for it. Jesus is saying none are coming after me who are not living such a life.

Carrying Your Cross as Becoming

Carrying our cross is seeing and saying no to sin. Anger when your husband forgets to call and say he will be late. Eating the last of the bread or milk knowing your wife will have to go without or go out of her way to eat. This is serving self not others. The sin is rooted in your heart and self-love. You are serving yourself when you do not honor your wife by looking at nude women on your computer. This is telling God your wife is not acceptable, the wife he gave you. In this you tell God what is not yours should be. God’s His for marriage is faulty because your insatiable urges for pleasure, power, control, and self cannot be satisfied in marriage and should be because they are of greater value than His glory in confirming you, your desires are part of you, to the image of Christ. This act is a fruit of your heart that screams at God. It says the women whom you have created are of no more value than serving my selfish pleasures; they are merely tools to serve me. Eating that extra helping when all ready satisfied says to God, “This is all made for my pleasure not God’s glory.”

The greatest offense in these acts is saying, “God I know you have promised to give me more of Christ, that he will be more satisfying to me than all else if only I will turn to him in this moment, but I don’t want more of Him, life, I want to take pleasure in death.” The deceitfulness of sin is such that, as absurd as that sentence seems, it gets us looking at life in that manner. What arrogance is in our hearts.

 Is the cross on your back, being carried by grace? Or is it lying discarded at your side in favor of a millstone of sin about your neck?

This verse is about living, being, becoming. That is carrying your cross. It is an active thing. Are you carrying your cross today?  Look hard. Take this question seriously? Be honest. Tomorrow, the future, what you plan to do is unimportant, what you did in the past is not critical. The question is where is the cross today? Today is all we have. This is same question we have for everyday. Where is the cross today? Is the cross on your back, being carried by grace? Or is it lying discarded at your side in favor of a millstone of sin about your neck?

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