I read this scripture the other day during my daily reading, and it's been sort of haunting me ever since. Now mind you, I am no theologian, and not a bible scholar in any sense of the meaning, so these are just the musings of a wife and mother who loves the Lord and has a love for the Word of God. So if it turns out you have some theological response or issue to it, please know I was never trying to start a debate, I'm just sharing my "wonderings" here.
These are the words of Christ, here in Luke 9. He's talking with His disciples, his most intimate friends. He has just asked Peter who he believes Him to be and Peter has confessed Him as the Christ. These men that Jesus called to walk with Him were not bible scholars either, they were common men, fisherman, a tax collector, just regular guys. So I don't know how well they knew the scriptures, to the letter. I don't know if they had studied deeply the words of Isaiah and the other prophets of old. Honestly I wonder how completely anyone understood the prophecies before they were fulfilled. I am not saying they had a strict understanding, I'm not saying they were clueless, I'm just saying, I wonder.
So here is why this scripture sort of stopped me, Jesus made this statement about "taking up the cross" before He himself had gone to His to be crucified. When we look at the cross from our perspective, after Jesus died there, we have the privilege of a clear understanding of what was accomplished there. We see not only the purpose of the sacrifice, but the accomplishment of it. When we, or at least I, look at the cross, the beauty of it is seen. But when Jesus said these words to the disciples there was nothing beautiful about it.
When Jesus made this statement to them, the cross was a form or punishment and torture. Other than it being a pathway to eternity, there really was nothing redemptive about it. It certainly wasn't beautiful.
So I wonder to myself, what were they thinking? Maybe it was a saying in those days? "Take up your cross," as though to bear their own burden, but what did it mean? Was it the equivalent of the modern day attitude of "death and taxes" being life's only guarantees? Because I cannot begin to fathom before Christ on the cross anyone taking this admonition well.
So I wonder did they just take Jesus at his word? Did it not matter to them whether or not it was logical, whether it made sense? Was it just simple faith in action. Did they think to themselves, "it doesn't make sense, but if Jesus said it, it must be true..."??
Honestly, I don't have any the answers to my "wonderings" but what does occur to me, is that sometimes we do have to have that exact attitude. Sometimes we have to look at God's words, and obey even when we don't fully understand it, or it doesn't make sense.
Sometimes we have to forgive, even when the person we're asked to forgive isn't sorry for their actions.
Sometimes we have to give, even when it hurts.
Sometimes we have to make ourselves vulnerable, or we have to allow ourselves to be embarrassed, or we have to walk right into rejection just because He's said so.
Sometimes we even have to do these things over and over again.
If the disciples didn't understand but they were willing to take Jesus at his word, and apparently not question Him. They had more faith in the source of the words than the actual words. I think I'd like to have that kind of faith. Maybe sometimes I do, but I would like to always have that kind of faith.
I know there have been seasons in my life I have been able to exercise faith like that, but I would like to be the kind of person who walks so closely with Him, it would never occur to me to entertain even a moment of doubt.
1 Peter 1:24-25