Matthew 10:38 – But let him first deny himself, take up his cross and follow me . . .
My son, you have had a wrong perspective of the cross. You have seen it only as the “emblem of suffering and shame.” When you hear my words to daily take up your cross and follow me, your thoughts immediately turn to pain and suffering. You think of the weight and burden that I bore for you as I carried my cross. You think of the splinters, striving and agony that I experienced. But, my son, the cross is in reality your salvation. The cross is where the good news becomes possible. For on the cross I took upon myself the punishment and chastisement that you deserved. On the cross I harvested all of the bad fruit that you planted, and in exchange gave you my harvest. A harvest of righteousness. This is good news. Where you can exchange your sin and the justice you deserved for my righteousness. The cross stands as an altar, a signpost, of the place where I’ve cut you off from your past. Your past sin and the consequences of it stop at the cross. They die with the old man and the debt you once owed is forgiven.
Therefore, when you take up the cross daily, you are taking up that finished work. The mistakes you made yesterday are estopped at the cross. Every day you take up the cross, you stand in the harvest that Christ sowed on your behalf. You in turn cut off any harvest you may “deserve.” Taking up your cross is not a call to suffer for me. It is a call to victory. It is a call to stand every day in your new identity as a highly favored son. Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden. Come and find your rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden (the cross) is light. My burden is light because the cross was an instrument of pardon, relief and life on your behalf. It is the good news! It is the great exchange! My righteousness for your sin. My past for your’s. My future for your’s. This is truly good news. So take heart. Take up the cross daily with joy. For it is a kingdom burden. One that makes the journey easier. A burden of rest. A burden that relieves you of the heavy load you’ve been carrying. A burden that releases you from bondage into the perfect law of liberty. Therefore, change the way you think. Take up your cross daily with joy and stand in your identity as a royal son of the king.