Skip to content

The Scandal of “Taking Up One’s Cross”

February 24, 2010

In D. A. Carson’s new book Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, Carson puts the “scandal” back in the phrase “he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24-25).  This is what he writes:

This expression “to take up one’s cross” is not an idiom by which to refer to some trivial annoyance – an ingrown toenail, perhaps, or a toothache, or an awkward in-law: “We all have our crosses to bear.”  No, in the first century, that sort of interpretation would have been impossible.  In the first century it was as culturally unthinkable to make jokes about crucifixion as it would be today to make jokes about Auschwitz.  To take up your cross does not mean to move forward with courage despite the fact you lost your job or your spouse.  It means you are under sentence of death; you are taking up the horizontal cross-member on your way to the place of crucifixion.  You have abandoned all hope of life in this world.  And then, Jesus says, and only then, are we ready to follow him.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: