Embracing the Cross: Rediscovering Its True Meaning

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'" - Matthew 16:24 (NIV)


In today's modern Western society, the meaning of the cross has often been diluted, distorted, or altogether lost amidst the noise of our fast-paced lives and the distractions of our materialistic culture. We wear it as jewelry, display it as a symbol of our faith, but do we truly understand the weight and significance it carries?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man of deep faith and profound insight, reminds us: "The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death-we give over our lives to death."

These words cut through the superficiality of our modern understanding and call us to a deeper, more profound encounter with the cross of Christ. The cross is not a mere accessory to our faith, nor is it a symbol of comfort and prosperity. It is the ultimate symbol of sacrifice, love, and redemption.

When Jesus carried his cross, he carried the weight of our sins, our failures, and our brokenness. He bore the burden of humanity's pain and suffering. And yet, he did not shrink from it. He embraced it willingly, out of love for each and every one of us.

As followers of Christ, we are called to do the same. We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. This means letting go of our own desires, ambitions, and comforts, and embracing the path of selflessness, humility, and sacrifice.

Embracing the cross means being willing to confront the darkness within ourselves and in the world around us. It means standing up for justice, mercy, and truth, even when it is difficult or unpopular. It means loving our enemies, forgiving those who hurt us, and extending grace to all.

But let us not be mistaken: embracing the cross is not easy. It requires courage, perseverance, and unwavering faith. It means stepping out of our comfort zones and trusting in God's plan, even when we cannot see the way forward.

Yet, in the midst of our struggles and our suffering, we find strength in the hopes of knowing Jesus more through participating in the cross of Christ. For as Bonhoeffer reminds us, "the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ."

May we, like Christ, embrace the cross with humility and grace. May we carry it with courage and conviction, knowing that through it, we fulfill man's chief end: to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever as written in the Westminster Confession. And may we never forget the true meaning and significance of the cross, as we journey together in faith and discipleship. Amen.

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World Olivet Assembly (WOA) is a global gathering of evangelical churches and para-church organizations existing for the advancement of world mission.

World Olivet Assembly believes in equipping believers with theological and practical resources that would enable them to advance the work the gospel.