What is the attraction in the cross? Why do some people love the cross? Why is it that every true child of God has a cross to carry?

The answer is, the cross is where our Saviour, our Creator, gave His life for our redemption. That is where the burden of our sin will roll away, and we will be free, as if we had never done anything wrong. That is where peace and joy fill our hearts. Our minds that are troubled with cares and worries find rest. That is where the way to heaven and to eternal life has been opened to us. We are united again with our Creator, after sin had broken the connection. Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24

How often do we need to carry our cross? Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23. There is no crown without a cross.

What does the cross of Christ give to us? “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:17–18

The strength and power of a Christian lies in the cross of Calvary. We find an example of Jesus being lifted on the cross in the time of Ancient Israel. When they murmured against God and Moses, fiery serpents were sent and bit them causing many to die.

“And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that He take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” Numbers 21:6–9

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14–15. If we look to our crucified Saviour we shall live.

“I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.” Isaiah 45:22

“Subduing self and looking to Jesus is an everyday work. The Lord will never forsake the soul that trusts in Him and seeks His aid.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 70–71

Peter was able to walk on the water as long as his eyes were looking to Jesus. As soon as he turned his eyes away from Jesus, he started sinking. This same experience can happen to us; if we turn our eyes away from Jesus, we also start sinking.

Many are deceived by a crossless religion, a religion that is easy and accommodating. It is one of the greatest inventions of Satan—religion without the cross—and millions are accepting it. In that religion you do not need to overcome your sins, nor bad habits.

What does it mean to carry the cross of Jesus? “To bear the cross of Christ is to control our sinful passions, to practice Christian courtesy even when it is inconvenient to do so, to see the wants of the needy and distressed and deny ourselves in order to relieve them, and to open our hearts and our doors to the homeless orphan, although to do this may tax our means and our patience. Such children are younger members of God’s family and are to receive love and care, and to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This is a cross which, if lifted and cheerfully borne for Christ, will prove a diadem of glory in the kingdom of God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 627

It is a sacred honour to bear the cross of Jesus. Self-denial and cross-bearing lie directly in the path to heaven, but only few are willing to bear the cross of Christ.

Jesus carried His cross toward the place of execution, (Calvary), while multitudes were mocking Him and spitting on Him. How few were willing then to join with Christ, and follow Him, and be recognized as His friends. Even the disciples were afraid to be recognized as His followers. How few today are willing to carry their cross, and follow Jesus in the way of shame, mocking, and humiliation. Jesus bade His followers to follow Him, even unto death. Jesus, the King of kings, the majesty of heaven, our Creator, humbled Himself, and carried His cross, even unto death.

Jesus still recognized them that crucified Him as His friends. “And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends.” Zechariah 13:6

Even when they nailed His hands and feet to the cross, He prayed for them, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

For centuries the Lord had patiently cared for them, giving them blessings, counsels, and prophets, and finally He Himself came to them, in order to save them. But, then what happened?

“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away.” John 19:14–16

What a terrible choice they made. Once more Christ was offered to them, “Behold your King.” But they chose rather to have Caesar ruling over them. A little later the army of Caesar came to destroy Jerusalem, and killed one million and 100-thousand Jews.

How many today show in their actions—not this man, not Jesus—and follow the deceptions of Satan. What a terrible choice.

Often we may be offended and hurt by an enemy, but how much more painful it is when we are offended and hurt by our friends whom we love.

What happens when we carry the cross of Jesus? Paul writes, “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31. We must die to sin, our own “I” must die, and our selfishness and our desires must die. Paul also writes, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Paul died on his cross, but then he was born again and became a new creature. Paul did not complain about the cross he was carrying. It was his glory, his salvation. He loved his cross. He writes, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

We all must deny ourselves and bear the cross that the Lord has given us. It is the one that is the most suitable for our salvation. My friend, I earnestly beseech you to take up thy cross and follow Jesus. It will support you in adversity, privations, and sorrows; it will strengthen you and comfort you. It will be a pledge of immortality to you. Amen.

Timo Martin