Jesus speaks to the disciples about taking up a cross to follow him.

Luke 14:
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:  26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-- yes, even his own life-- he cannot be my disciple.  27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

When we think of the cross, we think of a noble symbol of the greatest love in the Universe.  We think of the price of sin and how we have been reconciled to God.

But, at the time Jesus’ words were terrifying.  Imagine daily seeing the Romans torture and kill your neighbours by nailing them naked on a stake and leaving them exposed to die.  The cross was a symbol of oppression, power and making a spectacle of wrong-doers.  The criminal sentenced to death would carry his own cross to the place of death and face ridicule along the road from unsympathetic observers.

Jesus tells the disciples that this will be his destination.  If they want to follow Him, they need to wilfully carry their cross to the place of torturous death.  They must choose to have the false self crucified.  They must choose to be powerless and exposed.  We soften this to the word ‘vulnerable’.

Let’s begin with what Jesus didn’t mean. Many people interpret “cross” as some burden they must carry in their Christian lives: a strained relationship, a thankless job, a physical illness. With self-pitying pride, they say, “That’s my cross I have to carry.” Such an interpretation is not what Jesus meant when He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.”
“Take up your cross and follow Me” means willingness to die in order to follow Jesus. It’s a call to absolute surrender.

The most remarkable thing in Jesus’ call to die is its result.  Just as one dying seed can produce a huge harvest of fruit, one surrendered life will have a positive effect multiplied times over.  Jesus’ death was always about making life bigger, not smaller.  In His resurrection, two millennia of hope and love have flourished.  His church has continued to bear fruit and do greater things than He did singularly.

There is a dark death-wish produced in the barren womb of the false-self.  It is a universal scam finding new suckers every day.  There is an appetite that cannot be satisfied and a longing that ends in destruction. 

Jesus came to save us from ourselves.  Will you accept His call to be a Kamikaze saint?  Will you choose the road that leads to the end of your self-centeredness? 

God is looking for your willingness to embark on a mission that will cost you your life, but multiply into a harvest of new life.