The Christian Cross

cross

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”—Matthew 10: 37-38

The word translated as cross in the above quoted scripture, is from the Greek word, “stauros” meaning a stake or post (as set upright). It means a pole or cross used as instrument of capital punishment…

It figuratively means exposure to death. It also means self-denial. In some other scriptural context, it is used to connote the atonement of Christ on the cross.  Our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth and successfully bore his cross. But then in our opening text and other scriptural texts, the Lord admonishes us to take our cross and follow him.

He says, anyone who does not take up his cross and follow him, is not worthy of him. With such a grave statement as this, coming from our Lord; it becomes very important to get a good understanding of this instruction of the Lord.

 Because many people are deluded on the true meaning of the cross, the Lord says believers should carry and follow him. What many Christians call cross is not actually part of the cross the Lord says we should carry…

 Many suffer afflictions that are common to all men; and they call it cross. Many other believers suffer because of unbelief and their sinful lifestyle; and they also refer to it as the cross.

Several others suffer for their outright stupidity and foolishness; and they also hypocritically call it a cross for Christ. And this is why we want to critically study the true meaning of the cross the Lord says we should carry and follow him.

The Meaning of the Christian Cross

As we can see from the opening text, the Lord did not say we should carry his (Jesus’) cross and follow him. Rather, he says we should carry our own cross and follow him. And when the Lord says we should carry our cross and follow him:

  1. He means we should put our lives at stake for his sake and his gospel’s.
  2. He means we should give up on all things in our hearts (including our personal ambitions and honour) For Christ and the Gospel’s sake.
  3. He means we should put Christ and his gospel above all else… Including our lives, our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, children; and every other person or thing that matters in our lives.

  4. He means we should be ready to go through inconveniences and persecutions for the sake of Christ and his gospel.

The above list is what the Christian cross is all about. Furthermore, the encounter of the Lord Jesus with the rich fellow that ran to him; to ask him how he may inherit eternal life; will buttress the true meaning of the Christian cross we are discussing here. Let us see the scripture below:

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, why callest thou me good?

There is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not still, Do not bear  false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy  Father and Mother. And he answered and said unto him Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, one thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven and come take up the cross and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possession”—Mark 10: 17-22

As this rich fellow came to ask the Lord how he may inherit eternal life, the Lord told him to keep the commandments. And he answered that he had been keeping all the commandments from his youth.

 The Bible says, as he told Jesus that, Jesus loved him. Then Jesus told him, the only thing left for him to do, was to sell all he had. That he should sell them and give the proceeds to the poor. And after that, he should take up his cross and follow him.

In verse 22, the word of God says, the man was sad at the saying and went away grieved; for he had great possession. So like Jesus said to that man, if we must follow him as true disciples, we must also give up on everything we own in our heart…

 We must detach our hearts from everything that matter to us—including our lives, to follow Jesus. When we truly detach ourselves from everything in our heart to follow Jesus, we won’t have any problem with letting go of them for the sake of Christ and his gospel.

However, this does not in any way mean; every believer must practically give away everything they possess; except God specifically instructs them to do so. It means every true believer in Christ, should detach himself from every possession for Christ and the gospel’s sake…

Such that, anytime the Lord or the gospel demands those things, we are ready to let them go willingly. Such was the case of our father, Abraham. God promised him a son. And he had to wait for 25 years before getting that son, Isaac.

But as God demanded for Isaac, his only son that he loved, he willingly took him for sacrifice to God. This exactly what the Christian cross is all about.

The Rewards of The Christian Cross

Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren or sisters, or father or mother, or wife or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life”—Mark 10: 28-30

From this scripture, the Lord clearly tells us that if we deny or give up everything to follow him, we will receive hundredfold reward now with persecutions. And that in the world to come, we will receive eternal life.

So this is what the Christian cross is all about. And we have also clearly seen the eternal rewards that go along with it.

If you have any question or comment, you can drop it at the comment section below this post…

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Emeke Odili