The Purposeful Burden

17 03 2010

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (ESV)

On my way home a couple of days ago I was talking with my wife about burdens and hardships and this thought came to me.  “Jesus didn’t always bear the cross.”  Now before you turn me off or start to dispute me mentally, let me explain my thought.  Jesus only had to literally pick up the cross once.  In fact the whole reason He picked it up was so that we didn’t have to. 

So why then would He direct His disciples to take up their cross?  Some people have this idea of “suffering for Jesus” as if it is what He has called us to do.  We see Jesus as this big brother who says I went through it so you have to go through it.  But that is not at all in line with the scriptures.  In fact the word that Jesus uses for taking up our cross is the same word that he uses when he says take my yoke upon you…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt 11:29, 30).

Jesus did warn us that there would be those who would prosecute us because we follow Him.  But that is not His heart beat for us.  He came so that we could have a more abundant life (Jn. 10:10)!  So why then, does He instruct His disciples to take up their cross?  Because He wanted them to have the same burden for people He has.  Look at the verse in context, He is just starting to tell them about what will happen in Jerusalem.  Peter tells Him he can’t do it.  Jesus calls Peter Satan, and then He tells them to pick up their crosses. 

Jesus knows He must eventually sacrifice His all; it is the price of the burden.  He wants His disciples to have the same willing heart that He had.  He wants them to have the purposeful burden, so when the time comes they will be willing to sacrifice as well!   

If you don’t have a purposeful burden, when it is required, you won’t sacrifice.  For Peter it wasn’t till after Christ’s resurrection that he picked up his cross, his purposeful burden. 

Why do we feel like we MUST suffer for Jesus?

What is your purposeful burden that Christ has laid on your heart?




2 responses

17 03 2010
John Cordero

good stuff mason

17 03 2010
Mason Stanley

Thanks John, it has been on my heart and mind for a little while now. Why do you think Christians feel like they MUST suffer for Jesus?

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