Luke 9:23-25 – A Costly Cross
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
(Luke 9:23-25 ESV)
Living well comes at a great cost, but so does living poorly. There is a price to pay and a sacrifice to be made for every decision in life. These costs vary, from something as mundane as a speeding ticket, to something as great as the loss of friends or familial ties (Luke 12:53). Following Jesus is costly. In fact, that word falls short to describe the depth of sacrifice required in walking after him. Taking up a “cross” would not have been the sanitized allegory to Jesus’ original hearers that it can be to us today. The cross took everything from men. It was a torturous end to human life. It was not meant to merely punish, but to kill. In fact, the legacy of the cross lives on even in our language, as the word excruciating literally means “from the cross”. A pain so intense, a loss so tremendous, it had to be associated with the worst death a human could die. This phrase cannot be glazed over, it cannot be brushed aside. There is a reality here we must rediscover; following Jesus Christ means death. And, though death costs much, it is the price of eternal life. Save your life and follow Jesus today. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)