3 Crosses of Discipleship

It's important to return to the basics regarding the Christian life, which starts with discipleship.

Christian discipleship is a call to renounce our affection for this present evil age. As the author of Hebrews states, we do not have a permanent city in the world, but we are looking for the city that is to come (cf. Hebrews 13:14). We know that this present evil age is under the sentence of the death and this judgment is becoming more and more obvious as time progresses. As Paul, a Christian disciple is one who has renounced the glory of this world for the surpassing riches of Christ.

 

Recently, my pastor has started a Men’s Bible Study series on discipleship by examining a classic passage for discipleship:

In Luke 9:22-24, Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things; He must be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life…If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”

This is a familiar passage for most Christians and yet it always remains a challenging passage. In this passage, Jesus is not attempting to give his apostles a rose-colored view of the Christian life. Rather, He presents the conditions of discipleship plainly: self-denial and cross-bearing. The Christian life must conform to the example given by Christ Himself who willingly bore the cross. The meaning is quite clear – no one can be considered to be Christ’s disciple unless he is truly an imitator of Him and is willing to pursue the same course. This self-denial implies that we should abdicate our natural inclinations, and as Calvin says “part with all the affections of the flesh, and thus give our consent to be reduced to nothing, provided that God lives and reigns with us.” We are called to bear our cross, but this is not a cross that we lay upon ourselves. Our Father lays upon us the cross that is suitable to us and thus, the patience of the believer consists in bearing willingly the cross which has been laid on him.

I’ve thought about this basic exhortation of cross-bearing from our Lord a number of times and I think that Paul makes a complementary statement in Galatians 6:14.

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

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