Bearing Our Cross
So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. — John 19:16-17
There is a lot of debate still today on where the crucifixion might have taken place. The bottom line is we don't know exactly. In their time, it appears to be a place that derived its name from the look of a skull or cranium. But we really don't know. And this doesn't matter because going to this place isn't going to do anything for you. What matters is why he died. But to understand the full weight of "the why," you must see "the way" he died.
It doesn't really matter where he died, but the way he died so that we can see why he died.
Jesus, an innocent man, was judged guilty of crimes he did not commit. He was sentenced by self-righteous and sinful men of his race and religion. Wicked and hateful men took him and made him walk the beam on his back to a location outside the city. And here, Jesus, the innocent and righteous one, would bear under the burden of sin to die for all sin. Their sin. Our sin. Your sin. So that you might know the righteousness of God.
Jesus said in three of the other gospels:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." — Luke 9:23; Mark 8:34; Matthew 16:24
When I read this directive in the shadow of what Jesus did, I only see how soft and cowardly I am. I think about how unwilling I am to deny my smallest selfish desires, bear under my tiny little burdens, and live on his mission, not my own.
But then, I remember I am breathing and upright today. This means I get another chance to take a step of denial, bearing a burden that's a little heavier and surrendering my mission for his. So let's do that together today. Deny. Take. Follow. Submit to the way and you'll discover the why.
Reflect on the daily crosses you bear. What are the challenges and burdens you face, and how do they compare to the cross Jesus bore for us?
Jesus asks us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. In what areas of your life do you find it hardest to deny yourself? What steps can you take to prioritize Jesus' mission over your own desires?
DO THIS: Deny. Take. Follow.
PRAY THIS: Lord Jesus, as I reflect on the weight of Your cross and the magnitude of Your sacrifice, help me to bear my own burdens with grace and daily surrender my desires to walk in Your path. Grant me the strength to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow You wholeheartedly. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Came To My Rescue.
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