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"Take up your cross..."

It's almost cliché at this point to say "take up your cross". Pastors say it all the time, Christian posts on social media say it. You may even remember Paul regularly telling the people he wrote his letters to "take up your cross daily". Paul loved telling people to take up their cross daily! You couldn't get him to stop saying that!

Except, Paul didn't say that. At least not in the Bible. He may have literally said it at some point, but it's not recorded.

Okay, but Paul isn't the only person who wrote from Acts to Revelations. That can be the only part of the Bible it's said, right? Jesus was crucified at the end of the Gospels, so it wouldn't be a phrase until Acts. That's what makes sense. Right?

That's what I thought until a few years ago. My pastor read the following verse;

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

Wait... Luke 9? Was that Jesus talking? Jesus in early Luke said to take up your cross daily? But...that would mean He knew all along the manner in which He was going to be sacrified.

I mean, of course He knew! He is God, and God knows many things. Things that were, things that are, and some things that have not yet come to pass. Wait, that's from Lord of the Rings. But it still applies to this.

The same story was repeated in Mark and Matthew, but it's also referenced earlier in Matthew.

If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.

That sounds pretty serious! And he was saying it long before he was actually crucified. We read it now looking back and know he is crucified in the end, so we overlook those verses and don't give them any thought. But imagine how confusing it must have been for the crowds.


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