Mark 8: Taking up Our Crosses
Reading through the Gospels, I have been thinking about the radical commitment that we are called to have as Christians. I feel that particularly in America, we can end up in a state of complacency. Mark 8 does not use easy language for what we are called to do.
Mar 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mar 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
We’re not supposed to simply follow Jesus. This passage certainly implies that the burden of denying ourselves and taking up crosses comes along with the journey. The interesting part about carrying out a cross is that you know what the end result is.
Think about Jesus on the Via Dolorosa. He was not dead yet, but He knew where He was going. He knew that He was ultimately going to be crucified on that cross. Nevertheless, He continued doing what He had to do.
This passage tells is a very similar story about us. We might see the consequence that some people will get upset with us if we advocate for a Christian worldview. I know that is a minor thing, but it is a realistic consequence of following Jesus in America. However, even though we see the earthly result, we don’t put down our cross. We don’t give up on the way. We persevere.
Again, I think we can be kind of complacent in America, but this is a reality for many of our brothers and sisters around the world. Christianity can realistically cost them their lives, and they pick up that cross every day and carry it. They persevere, and they do so because that is what we are all told to do. Jesus doesn’t promise that being a Christian will always be easy.