When Jesus called His twelve disciples to follow Him, He knew the path would lead to eternal life. He also knew it would include suffering, and for most of them—martyrdom.
And He summoned the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35 NASB)
In Roman-occupied Palestine, Jesus’s metaphor suggested a criminal who was forced to demonstrate his submission to Rome by carrying part of his cross through the city to his place of execution. “Thus ‘to take up one’s cross’ was to demonstrate publicly one’s submission/obedience to the authority against which he had previously rebelled.”
For Jesus, submitting to God meant death. For us, to pick up our cross means to obey God’s will as revealed in His word and accept the consequences without reservations for the sake of Jesus and the gospel.
Hebrews 11 lists Old Testament believers who chose to deny themselves earthly security and self-centered interests for the sake of Christ—their Messiah. For example, Moses.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Heb. 11:24-26 NIV)
As we walk with Jesus and meditate on His word, we receive spiritual sight to recognize and spiritual power to choose the path that leads to life, even if that path takes us through the valley of the shadow of death.
Who can meet such a challenge? As Jesus told Peter, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.Did you know that some Old Testament believers denied themselves earthly security for the sake of Christ? #BigGod Click To Tweet
We Are Weak, But He Is Strong
Thankfully, though we are weak, He is strong. His word never fails to light the next step, and His Spirit empowers us to pick up our feet and follow. Our strength may be little, but our God is big. The courageous Old Testament believers listed in Hebrews 11 bear witness to God’s all-sufficient help.
Below is a YouTube recording of my friend and author DiAnn Mills sharing her thoughts and reading a sample from my upcoming book Little Strength, Big God. If the video doesn’t show on the email, click here.
Little Strength, Big God releases September 5. Preorder your copy today! Follow this link to learn more and play the online Little Strength, Big God Matching Game.When Jesus called His disciples, He knew the path would lead to eternal life. He also knew it would include suffering, and for some—martyrdom. DiAnn Mills reads a sample from Little Strength, Big God. #BigGod, #BibleStudy Click To Tweet
 John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dalla Seminary Faculty (Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 1983), p 141
 Walvoord and Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary, p 141