24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
This passage is a favorite among Christians. It’s given us that famous saying, “We all have our own cross to carry.” We use this phrase to refer to the difficulties and challenges that we face as a natural part of life. But the context of this passage, and the reality of what the cross represents, tells us that life’s difficulties are not in view for Jesus here.
Just think about it: Jesus carried His cross to death. Yes, He physically carried the cross down the road, and it was incredibly difficult. But that was just a precursor to the full bearing of the cross when He hung and died upon it.
So it is for us. Life is hard, but Jesus’ call for us to take up our cross is to die to ourselves, die to this world, die to our sin, and to even die physically for the sake of His glorious grace.
The cross bids us come and die. Forfeit the pleasures and pursuits of this world and seek the glory to be found only in Jesus. We are called to endure the sufferings He endured, which wer ours by right, to gain the inheritance He receives, nothing less than to sit and reign with Him over all creation, forever in the presence of our God.