Luke 9:23 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. So in Luke 9, Jesus sends out His twelve disciples in this way. He gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and heal all diseases and tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and also heal the sick. So they went out with the tools Jesus had given them. The power of God was going to deal with the power of satan in a very visible way. Jesus gave them power to deal with the enemy trying to stop them and that power was greater than the power going against them. This brings to mind 1 John 4:4 where John says 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. Jesus' disciples were sent out to be "overcomes" as they went their way. Overcomer (def) - one who succeeds in dealing with or gaining control of some problem or difficulty. The disciples were not sent out ill-equipped, but they had the power that only Jesus could give them. So they went to share the Kingdom of God in the midst of a world that was confused. Furthermore, in Luke 9, we see that Herod is confused about who Jesus is and his confusion stems from the fact that he had already beheaded John the Baptist. So who was this?
Some had said that John the Baptist was raised from the dead and others thought Jesus was Elijah or another prophet. Word of Jesus' fame was getting back to Herod and Herod was attempting to see this Jesus.
So the disciples return from their ministry trip and tell Jesus all that they had done. But then Jesus slipped quietly away with them to Bethsaida. But the news got out about where they were and the crowds found Him and that is when Jesus taught them about the Kingdom of God. His teachings drew a great crowd and Jesus fed the five thousand men and others who were there. He had the disciples gather them into groups of fifty and they ate as much as they wanted.
After that Jesus left the crowds to pray alone and his disciples were with him. Then He poses an all-important question in Luke 9:18-20. 18 One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
19 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.” 20 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”
I write all of this to preface the challenge Jesus gave to His disciples then and now. In verse 23 Jesus says 23 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. What is "your way?" What is your priority in life? Jesus said to make our way His way and our priority Him. How far we drift when we just go through the motions every day in our Christian life. When God is our purpose the cross we carry is not heavy, but very focused, and that focus is on His Will and not ours.
If we want to be a cross bearer then we must find out where our heart is and follow what God is doing in our heart. That is why we must protect our heart. The writer of Proverbs says it this way Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Jesus is that life and the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to carry that cross and carry it well. Don't just look at that cross. Pick it up and WALK ON!!
The Pilgrimage Continues...