I hear people talk about picking up their cross, but no one talks about the weight of it…
There is a scene in a movie I saw once called “Passion of the Christ”. And before you come for me, I am very aware that that is not the most biblical example, but since I am a visual person, this movie helped me to visualize more about the love Christ had for us. (So glory to God that He can use anything) Anyways, there was one scene in particular that I still think of often. It’s the scene where Jesus is about to be crucified for our sins. He had just endured the worst beating, persecution and rejection that anyone of us would ever live through. And as He is walking to the cross, there is this moment of when He sees His cross, and He lovingly embraces it. The thought of how He embraced His cross and welcomed death, wrecks me every time.
As I try to grow in my understanding of His love, the more and more I can’t fathom why He would ever pick that cross up. I can’t speak for all, but I am well aware that at one point I was not worth dying for. The wickedness and the hardness of my heart and sin I committed against Him, I just knew I wasn’t worth it. Jesus on the other hand, was without sin. Nothing like us. And then it hit me. He was never picking up His cross, He was picking up ours.
That one cross, to me, symbolized all of the crosses of mankind, even the cross of those who will never believe in what He did. And as He was walking with it, holding on to it tightly, there was a part where He falls because of the weight of it. As I watched that part from my fleshly eyes, the part where He fell over, I was annoyed at the thought that they could represent Him as not able to bare the weight. There was even a part where a bystander (some random guy at that) was FORCED into helping Him carry the cross up the mountain.
As I continued to watch, I focused on the people gathered around witnessing what was taking place. Some weeping, some watching in silence and some yelling out in anger. Spitting and throwing stones at Him! Even the ones who had followed Jesus, just watched on in despair. Never capable of understanding the monumental reasoning behind His sacrifice.
And I said to myself “what is wrong with these people!?” How could they not see what was happening? And yes, I get deeply invested in movies. I don’t recommend ever watching one with me unless you can refrain from speaking. But anyways, my flesh was offended! To me, at one time, there were parts in that movie that displayed weakness. Which if anyone knows our Lord Jesus Christ, weakness and “Him” are like water and oil, they don’t even go together. It just didn’t sit well with me. And before the full thought could come fourth, “if I was there…” I was knocked down off my high horse. Forget being knocked off, I was under the whole horse completely. I felt as though the Holy Spirit said “that’s you!” Conviction set in and I felt the weight of His words say “that’s your cross.”
And in the time it took for me to gather up what dignity remained off of the floor, my perspective changed entirely. What was displayed in my mind as weakness, was in fact, selflessness. Obviously we don’t know that level of selflessness yet, but that’s how I viewed it. I won’t debate with people about the accuracy of the events displayed in that movie, but the meaning of what it represents is spot on.
You see, in the Bible it says in Matthew 16:24 that Jesus told His disciples, that if anyone would follow Him, all they had to do was deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him. And from fleshly eyes, that seems like a huge request. Especially from a person who can’t comprehend the weight of their own cross. But what people fail to realize (myself included) is without the sacrifice He did for us on that cross, we would have never been able to bare it, let alone carry it. He did the part we couldn’t. He removed our sin. He took the weight of all our wickedness, slander, blasphemy, self-love, idolatry (just to name a few of many) and DIED in our place. Because of what He did, we are now able to carry our cross.
To put it in a carnal perceptive it’s like if someone was left alone in the wilderness starving to death. They were too weak to go out and get their own food, so someone came to help them and faced the wilderness in their place, killing the food and even preparing it, not for themselves, but for the person who couldn’t. Yes, that person got to live because they were no longer starving, but they never acknowledged that they were not strong enough to go out and save themselves in the first place. Someone else had to do it.
We forget that the hard part has already been done. We forget that we were not ever capable of saving ourselves. We forgot that we had no chance at eternal life without Him. All we have to do is deny ourselves, by laying down our pride, by submitting, by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us. But the weight of our cross has been removed. We have a way to carry it now. How quickly we forget!
Brothers and sisters, I know it’s hard. The size and even the weight of our cross can get heavy at times. I know! But this cross is OURS. He carried the weight of all of our crosses on top of walking out the will of our Father. Lord forgive us for standing in our own way! We are no better than those who persecuted Him on the way up that mountain. I see why Paul pleaded so much to the body of Christ, I see why Jeremiah wept for the people. Because they understood the weight we are asked to carry was like a grain of salt in comparison to the weight He carried, not JUST for us, but BECAUSE of us. We should embrace it willingly. We could have died in our sin and would have been worthy of it, but He showed mercy. And the more I expose my heart, I see why. God knew we had no chance without Him. So, I guess in the same way Paul pleaded to them, I am pleading with you now. Carry your cross gratefully and while you are able to, not only because we can now, but because eventually we won’t be able to.