Community Notes: Take up your cross
By Pastor Isaac Johnson, New Hope Lutheran Church
And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
— Luke 9:23
Sometimes we Christians like to tell others that everything would be better in their lives if only they were Christians like us. That is true, but it’s also a bit misleading.
What is better when you’re a Christian? Is life supposed to be easier? Are you supposed to be more successful? Is becoming a Christian supposed to feel like a 10% raise? Are your broken relationships supposed to get fixed up right away?
Well, any of that stuff could happen, but it’s not how Jesus described being a Christian.
Jesus said that if you want to follow him, pick up your cross and follow him daily.
A cross is a nice thing nowadays. People make crosses of silver and gold and hang them around their necks as jewelry, and it all looks so pretty. That’s fine, of course, but it’s also not what the cross is.
Remember that the cross was how the Romans executed criminals at the time of Jesus. These criminals would be literally hung out to dry on the roadside with their crime posted above their heads. It was intended to intimidate anyone walking on the road, so they wouldn’t dare commit the same crime. THAT is the cross.
Being or becoming a Christian doesn’t always make things easier on the surface. In fact it may look like an execution, where believing in Jesus could result in losing reputation, business and friends, or being estranged from family members. There are even many, many Christians who are martyred even today.
Why would anyone want that? It’s simple really. Jesus gave his own life for us. That gives us such an inward peace that we are ready to give our lives for him daily, not as payment, but as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
• • •
You are warmly invited to Sunday services at 9 a.m. at New Hope Lutheran Church, 607 N. Main St, Charles City.