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The Call to Take Up Your Cross, Part Two

Rev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., July 5, 2020
Part of the The Church Under the Cross series.

On Sunday we will continue our summer series of ten messages on ‘ The Church Under the Cross’ with our second look at the words of our Lord discovered in Mark 8:34–

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

In this passage, one that reveals our Lord’s candid message to the twelve Disciples and to the crowds that were attracted to Him, we find three phrases that help us to understand what is required to “ come after” Him. That is, we see what Jesus demands from anyone who would seek to be associated with Him and gain entrance into His kingdom.

Last Lord’s Day we examined what Jesus meant when He said that “ anyone” desiring to walk with Him must first “ deny himself.” In addition to this first requirement, our Lord adds that each must also “ take up His cross,” and then must “ follow” Him.

As we compare these words in Mark to the way that Luke also records this episode, we can gain a fuller picture of the scene:

And he 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).

You can immediately see the addition of the word “ daily.” The act of taking up our cross is something that, according to our Lord, is to be done each day. But what does this mean to pick up our cross? And what does it mean to do this each day. And what is the difference between the cross upon which Jesus died, and the one we are commanded to carry? And what is indicated and implied by the word “ follow.”