Ref: Luke 9:23; Matthew 10:38.
The reason for this is not that Jesus must die again today, but that we must. When he bids us take up our cross, he means come and die. The cross was a place of horrible execution. It would have been unthinkable in Jesus’ day to wear a cross as a piece of jewelry. It would have been like wearing a miniature electric chair or lynching rope. His words must have had a terrifying effect: “Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38).
It means that Jesus died so that we would be willing to bear his reproach. “Jesus . . . suffered outside the gate. . . . Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured” (Hebrews 13:12-13). But not just reproach. If necessary, martyrdom. The Bible pictures some of Christ’s followers this way: “They have conquered [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death” (Revelation 12:11). So the Lamb of God shed his blood that we might defeat the devil by trusting his blood and shedding ours. Jesus calls us onto the Calvary road. It is a hard and good life. Come.
I pray that if ever faced with the prospect of dying for my belief in Christ, I will not shrink back.