Read: John 19:16b-17
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Jews believed that anyone hung on a tree was cursed by God—forsaken and rejected (Deut. 21:23). To Jewish sensibilities, there was no lower status in the world. As Jesus carried His cross through the streets, the crowds would not have seen a prophet of God being punished by the Romans; rather, they would have seen Jesus as a worthless man being cursed by God.
To be a people of the cross means more than a willingness to identify with Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice, it also means being willing to be unpopular, unacceptable, and even despised.
Jesus never tells us to do something that He has not done Himself. Jesus invites us to deny ourselves and pick up our cross. Jesus invited His followers to willingly choose the way of the cross—to pick it up and to follow Him.
Ponder the cross that Christ carried and the cross that He has for you to carry.
Pray: Jesus, thank You for the cross You carried on my behalf. God, my refuge and my strength, help me to accept, even embrace, the crosses that I encounter in life—the cross that You have for me to carry. Teach me what it means to live my life in You. I ask this through Christ my Lord. Amen.