Then he [Jesus] said to them all, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).
Wow! You mean we have a cross too! How did that happen? I thought Jesus did it all when He said; "It is finished" (Jn 19:30). Some of my Evangelical friends tell me that only Jesus' cross is important. I tell them that Jesus didn't take up his cross for good reason, only to have us take up our cross for no reason.
One person asked this excellent question; is the cross that we carry literal or symbolic? For the criminal on the cross next to Jesus, it was literal. Peter was hung on a cross; this was literal. However most of us don't actually die on a physical cross. All crosses are for dieing; as John the Baptist said I must become less; He must become more. The Apostle Paul said, it is not easy for a good man to die. And Paul said that he must complete the sufferings of Christ; " Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church" (Col 2:24).
The Apostle Paul also said, "From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body" (Gal 6:17). Therefore, that I might not become too elated, A THORN IN THE FLESH WAS GIVEN TO ME, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor 12:7-9).
In order to take up our cross and follow the Lord DAILY, we must accept our sufferings whether they are physical or emotional. Next to suffering is joy and resurrection and so there is a time when our cross ends. Jesus said to the criminal on the cross on His right; "This day you will be with me in paradise." Easy Evangelical Christianity says, Jesus did it once and for all, therefore there is nothing for us to do. However, Biblical Christianity says we have a cross as well. "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). Yes, Jesus did do it once and for all when He said "It is finished" and now it is time for us to do our all.
KINGSLEY UBAOJI SAYS; "Friends please help me to understand this; what other atonement or 'penance' did the armed robber who was crucified with Jesus did to merit paradise that self same hour. I thought it would have taken him another 30 years to confess, do restitution, suffer the consequences of his sins for a season after he had been forgiven in order to pay for his sins before he can ever think of seeing the gate of heaven. I need bible scholars to comment on this please"...
LEONARD ALT SAYS: Kingsley, usually when I see this which regularly I see even on television. The people posting it are into DO NOTHING theology. Christ did it all and we do nothing and they will pose the question what can he do, his life is over. Evangelicals say we do nothing; however that is not what Jesus said. Jesus said take up your cross and follow me and the cross of the criminal is a literal cross and His cross was necessary just as Jesus' cross was. I can follow the Evangelicals who tell us to DO NOTHING or I can follow Jesus who said for us to take up our cross.