The Cost of Following Jesus

On his final journey to Jerusalem, Jesus turned to the crowd of people following him and said, “Whoever does not take up their cross daily and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

What did Jesus mean? There has been many thoughts communicated about the meaning of this passage in commentaries and sermons. Actually, there are multiple-dimensions to its meaning.

One insight is found in Luke 23:26. In this passage we are told that the Roman soldiers grabbed Simon from Cyrene (modern Libya), probably a Passover pilgrim, and forced him to carry Jesus’ cross to the place of the Skull where he would be crucified.

Often overlooked, and only found in Luke, is that this passage tells us that Simon carried the cross “behind Jesus.” Put that image in your mind. Now put yourself in Simon’s place.

I find this image gives me an understanding of what it means to carry the cross daily and “follow him.” We don’t carry our own cross isolated from Jesus. No. We willingly embrace our union in the death of Jesus as we carry the cross “behind him.”

We participate in the crucifixion of Jesus. We don’t just think about it. The crucifixon of Jesus is not simply an abstract religious idea, it is a daily experince as if we were in Simon’s place.