Links Daily Devotional

Links Players president Jeffrey Cranford and COO Jeff Hopper talk about how disciples of Jesus must take up their cross in following him. (Part 5 of a series, 3:20)

Who Is a Christian?, Part 5: Our Cross

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34, ESV)

I don’t know what to do with this teaching of Jesus.

As plain as it is, as simple in its instruction, I am left asking myself—and maybe you are too—what is my cross?

If you tell me, “Grab your clubs and let’s go play,” I have no trouble with that exhortation. Golf clubs are golf clubs. No symbolism there. Just load them in the trunk, drive to the course, and tee it up.

The same is true with Jesus’ cross. I know that he walked the Way of Sorrows to Golgotha with a literal wooden cross laid on his back. He was nailed to that cross and shed his blood there for our sins. For millennia, God’s people had sought a Redeemer; now he had come, and the price for the people’s redemption was great—it came with the King of all kings pierced for our transgressions.

Is this what Jesus wants for me? Am I to be nailed to a cross and suffer grave punishment? It is certainly true that this was the case for nearly all the apostles, executed for their faith in Jesus as Messiah.

And it has been true for many martyrs throughout history, men and women whose earthly lives were cut short, but whose time with Jesus began “early” (knowing that this is only our perspective, for God has been aware since before our birth of the day of our death).

So what does taking up my cross mean for me, in my place and time as a follower of Jesus? It means at least this:

1. We are to expect a walk with Jesus that looks much like his own, following “in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

2. Our following may require great suffering, even unto death (Philippians 1:29).

3. When a cross—the duty of the kingdom that God has for us today—presents itself, we are to “take it up” and complete the assignment that comes with it. We are not, the old commentator Matthew Henry wrote, to look for a cross or avoid a cross, but we are to seize it when it is there and do the next thing God has for us.

4. Above and beyond today’s cross, we are to see the cross-conqueror, Jesus our Lord. It is in his strength and the hope he offers beyond this life that we are enabled to persevere.

What is your cross? You may already know. You may be about to find out. It is the assignment of God for you, for which he will cause you to “will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

Jeff Hopper
November 25, 2013
Copyright 2013 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at