Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27
Have you ever tried to carry too many groceries or heavy boxes? Whenever I have, it’s not gone well. Something always drops or my back gives out.
Have you ever had so much going on that you can barely take on one more thing? Whenever I have, it’s not gone well. I eventually “drop the ball” on something, sometimes really, really badly. The fallout usually ends in tears and many apologies or in a feeling of shame that takes a day or so or longer to dissipate.
Jesus asks something pretty big of his disciples in Luke’s gospel. You must carry the cross and follow me or you cannot be my disciple.
I’ve never tried to carry a big cross before and probably couldn’t get too far if I tried. I struggle to understand what this means for Christ-followers in 21st Century living in the United States.
I think about Jesus’s directive. We know that Jesus does, in fact, carry a cross. He dies upon it. He carries all our sin to that cross. He sets aside all the power in the world he has to avoid this sacrifice out of love for us, out of obedience to God.
These days, we try to carry what we can to save face, to prove our independence, to prove our self-worth to others, or maybe to save ourselves another trip to and from the car. But in the face of Christ, we are beloved just as we are. In order to receive the grace that Christ offers through the cross means letting go of shame and the act of shaming. It may mean setting down everything and prayerfully discerning what matters most.
Of what might you need to let go in order to embrace a fuller life and relationship with Christ? What does the cross of Christ mean for you?