“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.'” Luke 9:23-26
I find it interesting that Christ had not yet been crucified when He said, “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” How do we make sense of that?
For a first century Jewish man living in a land occupied by Rome, it would not be unusual to see condemned men carrying their cross to their execution site. He used this image to explain the high expectations He had for His disciples’ devotion. He told them what He is telling us now: If you’re going to follow Me, you’ve got to be willing to die for me.”
So I ask myself this question, “Bryant, are you willing?” When Jesus gives this challenge, I think about how weak I am. I think about how cowardly, selfish, and sinful I am. And I think about Christian martyrs today, knowing that there are more Christians experiencing persecution right now than there have been in all of history.
I think about people living day to day in that situation and I wonder, would I be willing to go through torture for Christ? Would I be willing to give my life for Christ? I surely hope so.
If you call yourself a Christian, do you know what you would do?