Looking at the Scriptures in the accounts of Jesus’ journey to Skull Hill can be an uncomfortable thing. I suppose that is as it should be. But I also know that sometimes I can be de-sensitized to the cruelty that Jesus endured.
In the 19th chapter of John, I read that, after the awful scourging, Jesus was made to pick up his own cross and carry or drag it toward his destination.
But, as I read the words, I cannot help but recall Jesus’ call to follow him and how he said that I must take up my cross and follow. He was the one bearing the weight of that cross directly on the open wounds of his back and shoulders.
And then it dawns on me.
That was my cross.
Paul taught us that the wages of sin is death. I am the sinner. I deserve that death penalty. So, when Jesus invited us to come to him – all of us that are weary and burdened down with the weight of our ineptitude and utter inability to be righteous – and take his yoke because it was easy and his burden was light…he was offering an exchange. He took the cross we deserved and asks us to take up our cross that he invites us to… which is as simple as submitting our very lives to his design. (Matthew 11.28-30)
Jesus took my place of punishment and gave me his place of privilege.
So…out of the overwhelming gratitude for how intensely, sacrificially, and supremely he loved me, how can I not want to live every moment of this life I don’t deserve for him?
All my days in the passionate pursuit of closeness with Jesus – with no regard to the cost? Well, that’s truly my cross to bear.
Take a moment and reflect upon this beautiful recognition: