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Aug 22 Devotion: Before We Take Up the Cross

Luke 14:27 “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

Since our world differs greatly in custom and law from the day in which Jesus lived, we can read this verse and miss the underlying truth that was apparent to those whom heard the Lord speak this the flesh. It is obvious that in order to be a disciple of God one must first take up their cross and then follow after Christ. What is easy to overlook is what happens before we take up the cross.

Read the four accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion. In Bible times a person was not sentenced to die on the cross and immediately nailed to the cross beams of a tree. After sentencing, the condemned would undergo a scourging. In the accounts of Jesus’ scourging, we know that Christ was buffeted by the mob, stripped of clothing, and then whipped with a flagellum by Roman soldiers.

Each of these actions are a picture of what a disciple of Christ will endure while following after Christ, and before we take up our cross, we must be willing to endure these truths.

1) The Buffeting—Simply put, the mob that day struck the Lord with their fists. A Strike, blow, or punch. When applied to the disciple, this is a picture of those in our lives that despise us because of our devotion to carry the cross. Loved ones, acquaintances, strangers and even governments can be the cause of buffeting. Its intent is to make us drop the cross that we carry and keep the world blind to the gospel. Punching someone is always associated with rage and hatred. They despise and hate us because they hated our Lord. We must be willing to endure the buffeting before we take up the cross, or we will set it down before accomplishing our journey.

2) The Disrobing—This is a picture of transparency. Before I take up the cross, I must be willing to bare the fullness of the gospel in my life. After all, if our gospel be hid it is hidden to those who are lost. I must be willing to endure scrutiny, examination and evaluation. I must purpose to be above reproach and a plain example of the new creature that Christ has regenerated me into.

3) The Scourging—The final preparation for the cross was designed by Romans to promote the most pain and suffering possible for the person whom would be crucified. The flagellum (most commonly arranged in a “cat-of-nine-tails”) had several strands of leather knotted with pieces of pottery, jagged bronze pieces, and the broken bones of animals. It was intended to flog an individual with this instrument until they reached the point of being “half-dead,” and would commonly strip the majority of flesh and muscle from the individual being scourged. This is a picture of subduing the flesh. Before I can take up my cross, I must make the decision to become “half-dead.” The flesh must die daily in order for the spirit to live in the liberty which Christ gave to me. It will be painful, but I must sacrifice the flesh because the spirit is contrary to the carnal man. I am not a disciple if my flesh is still ruling over my life because the flesh will never follow after Christ.

Christ willingly bore the cross, submitted to its death, and Hebrews 12:2 tells us He endured the shame. In order to be the disciple that Christ desired for me to become, I must also endure the unpleasantries that will face me if I purpose to take up my cross and follow Him.

Your fellowservant in Christ,

Bro. Jordan Foster

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