Take Up Your Cross

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When reading this verse, it’s easy for us to overlook the significance of what Jesus said to his disciples.  Today a cross is a religious symbol that is often used as a decoration or as jewelry.

However, to the disciples a cross was a symbol of death, torture, pain, suffering, fear, and humiliation.  A cross was used to execute people.  It resulted in a slow and gruesome death.

Jesus is making an extremely difficult request for all those who would follow him.  To complete this task, a person would need perseverance and dedication.

Act Now – Immediate Obedience (Matthew 4:12-25)

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After leaving the wilderness, Jesus began preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  (ESV)

Jesus walked by Simon Peter and Andrew, while they were fishing, and said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (ESV)

The brothers immediately put down their nets and followed Jesus.

Later, Jesus saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John mending nets in a boat with their father.  Jesus called out to them and told the brothers to follow him.  James and John immediately left the boat and followed Jesus.

Jesus continued traveling in Galilee, teaching in synagogues, and healing the sick.

I wonder how Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John felt when they left everything behind to follow Jesus.  Were they afraid?  Were they excited to be chosen to serve with Jesus?