Jesus said to His disciples in Luke 9:23 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” At that time, they were all following Him, but when He made mention of a cross, they didn’t really understand what He meant. It would be quite some time before Jesus would actually die on a cross and even when He talked about His death, He never told them He would be hung on a cross.
When that day finally came, things looked much differently. Jesus was in excruciating pain, as He struggled to carry that cross. We all know the horrific things that Jesus went through as He bled and died on the cross. The only problem was, out of the twelve disciples, only John was with Him in the end. The others were not there. They didn’t see what John saw. In Jesus darkest hour, He only had one disciple standing at His cross.
It seems like they didn’t mind to follow Him until there was a cross. As long as He was healing people, feeding people and blessing them, they would be there. But when the day of suffering came, they ran. They followed the Master until they saw His cross. John proved to be a loyal disciple, because he followed Jesus even when He saw the cross.
I find that many people do the same thing today. As long as He is healing and blessing, they love to follow. They’ll be there for the parties and the celebrations, however, at the first sight of the cross…they run. Starting and then stopping, is not following. A true follower will deny himself, take up that cross and follow Jesus. Followers will sometimes have to suffer, it’s just a part of carrying the cross.
If you can endure the pain of Friday, you will experience the resurrection power of Sunday. God will not leave your body in pain. He will not forsake you in the midst of your darkest hour. If you follow Him to Golgotha, He will also take you to an empty tomb, but you will never know that unless you follow Him all the way. Are you a true, loyal disciple? Are you willing to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him?