What Jesus Did! 'Take Up the Cross' — Matthew 10:38-39

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"If a person will not accept the cross (suffering) that will be given to him when he follows me, then that person is not good enough for me. Any person that loves his life {more than he loves me} will lose true life. Any person that gives up his life for me will find true life."
— Matthew 10:38-39 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 10:38-39 NLT — "If a person will not accept the cross (suffering) that will be given to him when he follows me, then that person is not good enough for me.

Key Thought

Far from being a decorative piece of jewelry, the cross in Jesus' day was something hideous and shameful. Roman citizens weren't crucified. Decent citizens weren't executed on a cross. Only the scum, riffraff, and hideous were humiliated and tortured by crucifixion. In fact, the words crucify and cross were considered to be very crude words not allowed in polite Greek society. The Jews even had Scripture that suggested that anyone who was placed on a cross was cursed by God. So for Jesus to say "Take up your cross" were shocking words to hear. Why a cross? Can't you think of something better? Nope! Nothing can symbolize God's love, man's inhumanity, sin's ugly putrefying power in the world, Satan's hatred, and God's forgiveness quite like a cross, if that cross is where Jesus paid for our sins and absorbed Satan's worst deadly blow. Yet in that cross, God's righteous demands were satisfied and our sins forgiven.

Today's Prayer

Oh gracious and sacrificial Father, may I never boast in my deeds, but always look to the cross as my source of righteousness. Through your cleansing and empowering Spirit, please help me to surrender my life, my heart, my sin, and my dreams to you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Galatians 6:14
  • 1 Corinthians 1:22-25; 2:1-2
  • Hebrews 12:2-3


About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.