The phrase “Take up your cross and follow Me”, its meaning. What the Lord meant when saying the phrase. Interpretation of the saying by Jesus Christ.
What did Jesus mean when He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me»?
Of course, many of us live a challenge of a life: there may be lots of obstacles, difficult situations, painful relationships or killing sort of job, and we often tend to call it “my cross”, sighing pathetically or just pressing our teeth together. But no manner how hard our life is, the phrase we use to describe our difficulties is far from what Jesus initially meant calling to follow Him in carrying the cross.
We have got used to treat the Christian cross as a symbol of our salvation, our faith, Christ Himself. But it wasn’t so in the time of Jesus. Crucifixion was an extremely cruel and shameful mortal punishment, and a cross only meant a device used to kill criminals. So, when Jesus demanded His disciples to follow Him in carrying their cross, it was actually a demand of dying for Him, suffering horrible tortures, or at least giving up all the joys and pleasures of this world. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” Jesus asks his two apostles (Mk:10,38). They answer in affirmative, though they do not even understand what they are committing themselves to. And their Teacher promises them they will drink and be baptized like that, and eventually they do undergo all the sufferings they have to, remaining His true disciples.
Nowadays, our life is very comfortable, with all the technical devices we use in household, the TV, the Internet and lots of utensils we cannot fancy our life without. Everything seems to be meant to make a paradise of our life. And although the technical revolution with lots of moral losses it has been paid for does not really lead to any sort of paradise (excluding probably a paradise for sinners with sodomite sins being acknowledged as a norm), we cannot but agree that the comfort has become one of the idols of our time, and at any rate it is difficult for many of us to part with our cherished “toys”. Does it mean none of us can follow Christ today? For it is known that God is jealous, and He wants us to be zealous toward Him. Didn’t He say, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26)?
Impossible! Isn’t it too much! How can anybody hate his relatives, and doesn’t it contradict to the very essence of Christianity as a teaching and our God being a synonym of love?
But love is a sacrifice in itself, which was proven by Jesus Himself in His dying on the cross for all the sins of mankind. He is our Redeemer, He has bought us for a great price – the price of His priceless life, and by suffering for all of us He has shown us an example of what true love is. No, hating one’s relatives does not mean literally hating them: it only means rejecting the demands of the earthly nature they may have. And isn’t it worth after all to abandon all our earthly idols to join Him in His Heavenly Kingdom? Of course, each of us is to make a decision for himself, whether he is with Christ or not, whether he is willing to take up his cross and follow Him or not. The greatest gift of God we have is our free will after all.