We all have a cross to bare, but each cross is as different as the one who bares it. Not all are literally martyrs, yet all of us, in some way, are to die.
Jesus of all people did not have to die. He had no sin nature to crucify, no weakness to overcome. Nevertheless, Jesus, eternally equal with God the Father, enthroned in majesty, awesome in splendor, worshiped and adored, humbled Himself to take on the form of a servant. He
veiled His true identity and glory though remaining equal with God in nature and was conceived as a child, lived as a man, and laid down His life for all. Thus, the infinite God incarnated Himself, and in Him the fullness of the God-head dwelt bodily…for us (Philippians 2).
Think on this:
Jesus did not command us to take up our cross daily without having done so first Himself. Truly, Jesus bore a cross His whole life, and it was completed on the road to Calvary. His cross of humility, incarnation and service He bore well. He was questioned, disbelieved and resisted by those who should have bowed with fear and trembling. He was eagerly sought by thousands of people for free food and miracles, signs and wonders but was not sought for who He was. Indeed, the Great I AM, Creator God who created the very ones who crucified Him, willingly subjected Himself to humiliation, contradiction, reviling, spitting, false accusation, ridicule, dishonor, beating, disbelief, crucifixion, and death. This was the cross He took up for us.
Even as He had a cross, we also have a cross to take up for Him. For some this cross is one of continual physical suffering. Still, others struggle with the cross of loneliness or singleness. Some are unjustly and unfairly treated by fellow-Christians or family and friends for whatever reason. Others are persecuted for their faith, some even to the point of imprisonment or death. But whether these sufferings are short-lived or long-lived, like Jesus we are to “endure the cross” while at the same time despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2).
Yes, it’s unfair that we should be sued by another Christian.
It’s unjust that we should lose our business because of one upset customer.
It’s not right that we should never get ahead financially no matter how hard we try.
It’s painfully unfair that we are always sick or needing something or someone to care.
It’s upsetting that we are always overlooked for promotion.
It’s beyond ridiculous that we are still single.
It’s unfair that we have to raise our kids as a single parent.
Life is unfair.
But in all of our crying and anger and pleading that it’s all so unfair, unjust, and not right, let’s not forget what Jesus–God incarnate–went through and that cross of humiliation and shame that He bore. It’s true. We are not Jesus. We’re not dying for the sins of the world. This means, however, that no matter what HELL we might be enduring, it’s nothing compared to Christ’s suffering.
Jesus took up His cross without complaint or question, and He now bids us to take up our cross and follow Him. But, we keep throwing off our cross. We don’t want to carry it. It goes against the grain and sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. Nevertheless, we are called by Jesus to bare our cross as He did, and press on to our eternal reward which far outweighs our present pain and shame. Even so, let’s set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2) and press on toward the prize (Philippians 3); and may we remember that we are not alone in this, for there is a great cloud of overcoming, cross-bearing witnesses that have gone before us (Hebrews 12).