Writing to free the prisoner of one idea, crossing the bridge of paradox to truth, serving the legacies of Chesterton and Lewis who defended their faith in Christ
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. – Mark 8:34
Even before Simon of Cyrene was commissioned from the street by the Roman guards to help Christ carry his cross from the place of sentencing to the top of Golgotha where he was crucified, Jesus gave his followers a command: “Take up your cross and follow me.”
When reading the Gospel of Mark, one comes across a startling discovery: it is immediately after Jesus is identified as the Christ that he begins to teach his disciples about what he must suffer and his impending death:
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? – Mark 8:31-37
For whoever wants to save his soul… Who of us does not feel the deep urge for survival? And yet, we are challenged with agreeing to a contradictory path to get there: being willing to lose our life for Jesus and for the Gospel or Good News. But it is even more than that, it is willingly doing what Simon Cyrene was forced to do. In order to follow Jesus, we must, after identifying ourselves as Christians, choose to take up our cross in this life.
Can you do it?