Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:23-27)This paragraph is about dying. Better yet, it is about values and choices, dying being one of the choices based upon following Jesus.
“Take up your cross.” This is not an unbearable task, a thorn in the flesh, or someone unpleasant, like a roommate we have to endure daily. The cross is an instrument of shameful, physical execution, like the electric chair, the gallows, or the guillotine.
This is voluntary capital punishment. This is willingness to physically die in shame for Jesus. We could get out of dying if we were ashamed of Jesus. However, we would lose our life by saving it.
So it is about values and choices. What about “daily”? Since I did not die yesterday, I must get dressed with the instrument of my own execution again today and every day following.
Here are two parallel verses that give additional light:
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Tim. 3:12)The first is the desire to be godly. The second is a desire to resist sin until our blood is shed.
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Heb. 12:4)
Do we want to be godly so badly that we suffer persecution? Do we want to resist sin until we are killed for resisting it? Do we want to be unashamed of Jesus?
Each morning (daily), we pray for grace to be godly, unashamed, and able to resist sin. Each morning, this is the way we take up the cross.