“And He bearing His cross, when out to a place called the ‘Place of the Skull’, which is in Hebrew, Golgatha, where they crucified Him” (John 19:17,18a, NKJV). His back and shoulders bloodied, He trudged through the streets of Jerusalem dying to self and about to die for the world. We are told by Jesus even before He died, “And he who does not take his cross and follow Me Is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:38, NKJV).
Someone may feel the pain in their side from lack of exercise or they may complain of weakened knees or failing eyesight, only to claim any or all of these as their cross to bear in life, as if this were a comparison to what the Lord did for us. However, on Golgatha, we die to what we thought was the way a Christian should live and begin to live the life that God has planned for us, which will include, among many things, persecution. On Golgatha we are subject to shame, ridicule, hatred, scoffing, and mockery.
No longer fans of Jesus, but actual followers, we are reminded by the Lord, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master’, If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20, NKJV).
A follower is a servant of God Himself, who has been given life through the cross. As a follower you may have to forego the Sunday brunches, covered dish socials, and fancy clap sessions (decked out in your finest apparel) and go wherever He leads. For “wherever He leads” is truly the cross of Jesus Christ. It might be as harmless as an outreach into the poor sections of town, feeding the hungry, or death in a hostile land.
The cross you bear is the seal of the Holy Spirit upon your life and the word of the Gospel upon your lips, a soldier imbued with the supernatural weapons of eternal warfare. This is foolishness to those who are perishing and the fragrance of life to those appointed. Today is the day to relinquish your self-induced crosses and pick up the real one.
Article by Greg French. Printed in SR Discipleship Issue.