Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. ~ Matthew 16:24
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” ~ Matthew 19:21
And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. ~ Mark 8:34
Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come,follow Me.” ~ Mark 10:21
And He was saying to them all, “ If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. ~ Luke 9:23
When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” ~ Luke 18:22
Jesus *said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” ~ John 21:22
I have to wonder what people thought when they heard Jesus telling them to take up a cross. It would be like someone telling you to take up an electric chair and follow me. In our culture the electric chair is an instrument of death, a form of execution reserved for the worse offenders. In Jesus time that is what the cross was, it was an instrument of death used all across the Roman Empire. It was a horrible form of execution that the Roman’s used when they wanted to make an example out of someone.
Surrendering to Jesus means that you no longer live according to your flesh. The things you once did you will do no longer. But it goes deeper, things you once thought you think no more. And deeper still, until your will is fully surrendered to the will of God.
Lip service will not cut it, weekly attendance at your local church will not cut it. Surrendering to Jesus is completely life altering, everything changes. Confessing your sins is only the beginning.
When I married my wife a little over 28 year ago, I took a vow to forsake all others. To love no other woman but her. She had my eyes and my heart. All passion was for her and no other woman. Salvation works much the same way, we give Jesus everything and let Him do with us what He will.
We surrender all rights to Jesus and we should not take them back. Richard Wurmbrand spent 17 years in communist concentration camps. Rev. Wurmbrand could have left any time he wished all he had to do was sign a piece of paper that denied Jesus the Christ. He could have taken back his rights at any time but he refused to do so. Jesus was his all in all.
We must also surrender to Jesus until nothing else matters in this world but doing His will. As Paul said we must be crucified with Jesus until all that remains is the image of Jesus. As Leonard Ravenhill said, the world doesn’t need another definition of Jesus, they are waiting for another demonstration of Him. The Romans used the cross to make an example out of people, Jesus wishes to use the cross to make an example as well. But the example He makes demonstrates the love of God for all men.
May God help us to live as a new demonstration of Jesus the Christ, the Lover of our souls.