TAKE UP YOUR CROSS
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Luke 9:23 (ESV)
A lot of ground is covered in Luke Chapter 9. For the first time, Jesus sends out the twelve disciples ahead of him. He gives them authority and power, and at his word they depart and go through the villages, ‘preaching the gospel and healing everywhere’ (ESV, Luke 9:6). Next, Jesus miraculously feeds five thousand people! All of His miracles are awe-inspiring, but this one is a real humdinger. It’s one of the few miracles where Jesus defies nature1 and shows himself as he truly is, the Son of God. The next part is a direct result of the feeding miracle. In a special moment of disclosure, Jesus asks the disciples, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ (v. 20). What can only be identified as true inspiration, Peter answers, ‘The Christ of God’ (vs. 20). As if affirming Peter’s proclamation, Jesus goes on to foretell what he was sent to do, to die and be resurrected.
In light of these events, we can better understand what happens next. So, he’s told them who he is – the power-giver, ruler of nature, Son of God, sacrifice for a fallen world, defeater of death. Now comes the ‘so what will you do with this?’ part. Jesus calls on the disciples to deny themselves and to pick up their crosses (vs. 23). History tells us that all of the disciples do this very thing (minus Judas). They dedicate themselves to spreading the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM all over the known world!
We have spent the last forty days exploring six “R’s” of the Kingdom—Ripe, Return, Recover, Reunion, Reach, and Rebirth, which leads to the pinnacle of the Christian faith—Risen. Christ arose from the grave to atone for all our sins. My prayer is that something during these forty days has jumped off of the pages and into your heart, awakening you to a richer understanding of who God is! If that’s you, and you have experienced an enriching of the soul, what now? Will you walk out into the harvest with power and authority, preaching the GOSPEL?
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (NLT, Matthew 28:18-20).