As Jesus approached His crucifixion, He explained to His disciples what it would mean for Him. He said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Luke 9:22). But Jesus’ followers must know that this would have implications for them as well: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
The meaning of Jesus’ words must have been staggering to His disciples: “I’m going down a road that will be marked with unbelievable suffering on My part, but that will result in unimaginable life for you. But if you are going to get that life, you’re going to have to go down the same road that I am going down. For Me, going down this road will mean literal death; but on the other side My Father will raise Me up. For you, going down this road will mean death of another kind … death to your old way of life, death to your own personal right to rule your destiny … death to self. But on the other side of that decision you make to go down that road, My Father will perform the same miracle. He will raise you up to walk in a new life … and one day even to a resurrection of your body to something unimaginably glorious.
There’s more to the Cross of Christ than most of us realize. I’m talking about the grand doctrine of the Cross of Jesus Christ – not just the historical fact that Jesus Christ died on a Roman cross – not just what He did, but why He did it. Did Jesus endure so much agony to provide forgiveness for sins? Yes. To provide a way for sinners to go to heaven when they die? Absolutely! But there’s more. He did it to provide for us a way of life that explodes with the power of God.
That’s why Paul would say, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).
Follow Jesus into this amazing life today!