Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 NABRE
Roman crucifixion is punishment and execution for a criminal which includes humiliation and torture. A cross beam is attached to an already standing horizontal beam and this cross beam is carried from the place of conviction to outside the city walls where the guilty will hang until death. Those coming into the city may pass by those crucified adding humiliation to their crucifixion. Jesus has to carry His own cross to Mount Calvary where He is crucified. When Jesus says anyone wishing to come after Him must carry their own cross, He has an idea about His own conviction and death. For Jesus the carrying of the cross was so difficult He required Simon of Cyrene to help carry Jesus’ cross part of the trip.
This idea of carrying a cross is a powerful image but Jesus also uses this image to speak of a life of difficulty. When we follow Jesus we are called to love and care for others, even those who are our enemy or harm us. Love comes with joy and suffering. Many people have low and poor feelings about themselves and when we love them we recognize how they ridicule and blame themselves for the difficulties in their life. Loving someone we desire to be compassionate, which means we enter into the suffering of the other. Knowing someone is hurting and not having the ability to help them is a cross. Jesus followers are called to be compassionate, a cross we must carry. Often all we can do is be with someone suffering, ensuring they are not alone. The cross of compassion can be as heavy as the beam Jesus carried to Mount Calvary. Following Jesus puts us on a path to have a heart for the hurting. As Jesus carried His cross for others, we are called to do the same.
What is your cross? How are you compassionate?The cross of compassion can be as heavy as the beam Jesus carried to Mount Calvary. Following Jesus puts us on a path to have a heart for the hurting. As Jesus carried His cross for others, we are called to do the same. Click To Tweet
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