Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Take up your cross and follow me.”
Jesus, in Matthew 16:24
There is an old song that speaks of the efforts we foolish mortals sometimes make to hide with a show of religious activity our refusal to do God’s will. The song speaks of meeting a bleeding Jesus on the road of life, and of watching him carrying his heavy cross toward Calvary. It speaks of making a vain show of love by offering to carry Jesus’ cross for him, and then . . . well, hear the words themselves:
“Oh, let me bear your cross, dear Lord, I cried.
And, lo! a cross for me appeared,
the one, forgotten, I had cast aside
the one so long that I had feared.”
Making a show of service to God, offering service to God as we run from the cross that God appoints for us is but to play the hypocrite and hide our rebellion and pride. There is but one cross that any of us can carry rightly: the one God has given to us.
We can certainly never carry Jesus’ cross. His cross was to suffer and died to make “a new and living way” for us to worship God, the way of “spirit and in truth”. If we worship in a way other than the way Jesus purchased with his blood, if we worship in a way that he did not die for, it is only that we are trying to carry his cross for him, to make another way, and it is sin. God has a cross for each of us, but none of our crosses will be to suffer and die to bring about a new way to serve God. That cross belonged only to the Son of God, and by his sacrifice, he made available the new way of worshiping God: “in spirit and in truth”. And part of everyone’s cross is to forsake our own ideas of service to God and to worship as He has commanded through Christ.