17 As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem ; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” – Mt 20
The crucifixion was cruel and unusual punishment. A slow and painful death, punctuated by sharp burst of writhing pain, lasting hours and hours. The subject fading in and out of consciousness, at times into delirium with mumblings, and other times to full sobriety to carry on conversations with friends and strangers who watched, talked, cried, prayed.
Jesus was crucified, suffered beatings and derision by the vilest members of society, and He died for you and me.
Jesus knew His future and warned the disciples so they would not be surprised.
It is almost shocking, if you stop for a moment and give it some thought, that Jesus said, ‘If anyone wishes to be My disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” It’s fantastic that there would be any takers. Why did Jesus hearken to the instrument of death? Jesus who knew His own method of death would offer no candy coating, no rosie scenario, for following Him.
If we aren’t willing to die to self and carry our crosses daily, we might just as well tell Jesus to get lost before we go stage left back into the world. There’s no way to heaven except with a cross.
I want the rest of my days to be characterized by a biblical faith in Almighty God. I want to love God, my family, the church, the lost souls of the world. I want a cross. A cross was good enough for my Lord and it’s good enough for me.