Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Pick Up Your Cross and Follow Me": A Lesson From Luther

As I am studying for Sunday's message, I came across this quote from the great Reformer, Martin Luther regarding the story of Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross of Christ. Luther argues that this is a picture of what it means to dying to oneself, picking up their cross, and following Jesus.
The 2nd thing to be learned here is that Simon not only bears the cross, but also bears it because he is compelled to do so. For if he would have had his own will in the matter, he would have gone his way and cared very little what was becoming of Christ and His cross. But the soldiers seized him against his will and compel him to carry the cross . . . For this reason this man is called Simon or Simeon, which, in his language, means one who takes advice and obeys. For that is true obedience which, though it prefers to be exempt from this or that suffering, still yields to it willingly, following and letting itself be led, simply because it sees that God desires it so. All true Christians can be called by this name Simon. For although their flesh and blood would like to rest and be excused from pain, they still obey, heed the Word, are submissive to the will of God, and help the Lord Jesus bear His cross.

I think Luther is right, this is a vivid picture of what Christ meant in Mark 8:34. Picking up the cross includes shame, hostility, obedience, following, and in the end, death. Shocking to think, isn't it?

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