In often-quoted Scripture passages we hear Jesus saying that whoever wants to be His disciple must “take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt 16:24, Luke 9:23, Mark 8:34).
I was raised Catholic and my mother’s interpretation of this Scripture was that there were a lot of things in life which caused suffering and heartache, but we were obligated to bear them without complaint “like a cross” in order to demonstrate our faithfulness.
Last Friday, the Rev. Dr. Kristine Blaess asked a different question during her sermon, “When Jesus told us to “take up our cross” did He mean for us to bear our burdens alone?”
Kristine elaborated that in today’s world, our nature is to want to do everything as an individual. That way we retain control and avoid any scrutiny. We don’t want to admit to needing help because it would make us look weak and we would be vulnerable in our weakness. Better to suffer in silence than to let anyone know that we can’t handle everything that life throws at us!
Kristine continued, “But let’s look at Jesus, both human and divine. If we are to imitate Christ, we only need to look at His walk on Calvary. The Synoptic Gospels all record that a man named Simon of Cyrene was told by the Roman soldiers to carry the cross for Jesus. (Mark 15:21-22, Matthew 27:32 and Luke 23:26). When we “take up our cross”, we come to terms with our vulnerable and weaker parts, and how much we need help from others. Rather than bearing these burdens alone we should be like Christ and allow others to help us.
If Jesus was willing to have help carrying His cross, shouldn’t we be willing, too?”
(click below for MP3 file)