Take Up Your Cross And Follow Me - Matthew 16:24
In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
These words have become one of the most well-known statements in Christianity. However, what does it mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus?
In this article, we will explore the true meaning of "Take Up Your Cross And Follow Me", how it was understood in Jesus' time, and what it means for us today.
See also: Bible Verses About The Cross
What Does it Mean to Take Up Your Cross?
Taking up your cross means that you are willing to surrender your life and follow Jesus, no matter what the cost. It means that you are willing to die to your own interests, dreams, and possessions, and to put God's will first. Jesus said that whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for His sake will find it (Matthew 16:25-26). Following Jesus requires absolute surrender to God, and a willingness to die to self in order to find true life in Him.
When Jesus commanded his disciples to take up their cross, He was calling them to self-sacrifice. In those times, a person carrying a cross was not seen as carrying a burden or an annoyance, but as a condemned criminal on the way to the most painful and humiliating death - crucifixion. Bearing a cross meant that one was about to die, and that one would face ridicule and disgrace along the way.
The Rewards of Following Jesus
Although the call to take up our cross is tough, the reward is matchless. Nothing in this world is worth passing up eternal life. Commitment to Christ means taking up your cross daily, giving up your hopes, dreams, possessions, and even your very life if need be for the cause of Christ. Only if you willingly take up your cross may you be called His disciple (Luke 14:27).
Also in Matthew 16:25-26, Jesus says, "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"
Jesus' Call to Self-Denial
Jesus' call to take up our cross and follow Him is a call to self-denial and self-sacrifice. It requires us to die to our own desires and put God's will first. In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul writes, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
The Cost of Following Jesus
Following Jesus requires sacrifice. In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus encounters three people who are willing to follow Him, but when He presses them, their commitment is shown to be half-hearted at best. They failed to count the cost of following Him. Similarly, in Matthew 19:21-22, Jesus tells a rich young man to sell his possessions and follow Him, but the man goes away sad because he was unwilling to make the sacrifice.
Are You Willing to Follow Jesus?
As followers of Christ, we must be willing to take up our cross and follow Him, no matter the cost. This may mean losing friends, facing alienation from our family, losing our reputation, losing our job, or even losing our life. In some parts of the world, these consequences are a reality, but for many of us, it simply means being willing to suffer loss for the cause of Christ.
Take Up Your Cross And Follow Me Quotes
- "Taking up your cross means submitting to the will of God without reservation or hesitation."
- "The cross is the only ladder high enough to touch Heaven's threshold."
- "Taking up your cross means that you are willing to pay any price to follow Jesus."
- "The cross is the place where God's love and justice meet."
- "The cross is not a symbol of defeat, but of victory."
- "Taking up your cross means that you are willing to follow Jesus, no matter what the cost."
- "The cross is the ultimate expression of God's love for us."
- "Taking up your cross means that you are willing to let go of everything that is holding you back from following Jesus."
- "The cross is a reminder of the price that was paid for our salvation."
- "Taking up your cross means that you are willing to die to self, and to live for Christ."
Bible Verses About Taking Up Your Cross
- Matthew 10:38 - "And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."
- Mark 8:34 - "And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'"
- Matthew 16:24 - "Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
- Luke 14:27 - "And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."
- Galatians 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
- Philippians 3:8-9 - "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."
- 1 Peter 4:13 - "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."
- Romans 8:17 - "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 - "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."
- Matthew 5:10-12 - "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
- 1 Peter 2:21 - "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."
- Philippians 1:29 - "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him."
- Colossians 1:24 - "Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church."
- John 4:23 - "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him."
- Hebrews 12:1-2 - "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
In conclusion, Jesus’ call to “take up your cross and follow Me” is a call to self-denial, self-abasement, and self-sacrifice. Taking up our cross means being willing to die to ourselves, our desires, our interests, and our ambitions, in order to live for Christ. It involves a complete surrender to God and a willingness to suffer any loss for the sake of the Gospel.
As Christians, we are called to follow Christ’s example and take up our cross daily. This requires us to give up our own desires and embrace God’s will for our lives. It may involve facing ridicule, persecution, and suffering for our faith. But the reward is worth the price. As Jesus said, “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
Taking up our cross also means following Christ wholeheartedly, without reservation or hesitation. We cannot be half-hearted in our commitment to Him. We must be willing to count the cost of discipleship and pay whatever price is necessary to follow Him. As Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
Finally, taking up our cross means following Christ wherever He leads us. We cannot pick and choose which parts of the Gospel we want to obey. We must be willing to obey His commands, even if they are difficult or unpopular. As Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15).
Let us, therefore, take up our cross and follow Christ with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Let us embrace the cost of discipleship and be willing to suffer any loss for the sake of the Gospel. And let us trust in God’s promises, knowing that nothing in this world is worth passing up eternal life in Christ.