May 20, 2021

What Does It Mean to Take Up My Cross Daily?

Nathan W. Bingham & Joel Kim
What Does It Mean to Take Up My Cross Daily?

Jesus said that each of His disciples must "take up his cross daily" and follow after Him (Luke 9:23). What does this mean? Today, Joel Kim considers the cost of committing ourselves to Christ as His people.


NATHAN W. BINGHAM: We're recording this week from Ligonier's 2021 National Conference. And I'm joined by Rev. Joel Kim, who's the president of Westminster Seminary California. Rev. Kim, what does it mean to take up my cross daily?

REV. JOEL KIM: A number of the Gospels remind us of the importance of us taking up the cross and following Jesus. And I am reminded every single time that I read passages like that, that the disciples wrote and were reading these words only a few decades after Jesus' own death upon the cross. The cross, which is a symbol of criminals, the lowest form of death, painful death as we know, and here is someone who went to the cross and died. And they're reading this passage. They're hearing this passage being read aloud to them, simply saying, "Deny yourself and pick up the cross." It's about discipleship in following Jesus Christ till the end. It's about recognizing that utter focus on Jesus is what is asked of us. It's about following Jesus until we die.

No one wants to hear that. We live in a society and time where Christianity is easier. Forgive me for saying it that way. I don't mean to say that it should be easy, but oftentimes following Jesus Christ doesn't seem to introduce to us or remind us of the costs that first-century Christians actually experienced. There are many Christians around the world even now who are experiencing the challenge of believing and following Jesus, who have to take up the cross.

During this last year when the country and many of us went through many difficulties in America, as well as the world, to be honest"and I want to say this delicately"whatever we suffered and struggled with paled in comparison to how many Christians around the world struggle. I don't know about you, Nathan, but I have my Netflix. I have my family around me. We could even deliver food and have food, as well as all the merchandise, on Instacart to be sent to us as well. Many people do not get to enjoy that. We have abundant joy and blessings that the Lord has provided.

However, around the world, we recognize that following Jesus Christ is not that easy. It's about committing themselves in such a way that they might even die. And this is where the Scripture is reminding us that following Jesus Christ is not just simply the words that we say but the life that we lead. And Scripture reminds us that persecution and suffering will follow all believers. It's not even an option. It will follow. In that moment, when a decision has to be made between Jesus and whatever this world considers to be priority or important, we must choose Jesus. This is what the text is reminding us and teaching us.