“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
According to the above words of Jesus, a disciple of Christ or a true Christian will have to “bear his cross”. What does it mean to bear one’s cross? The people of Jesus’ day would easily understand the meaning of bearing the cross. In those days, the cross was the instrument of torture and execution which the Roman government used against its worst enemies. The word “cross” thus became a symbol of pain, suffering and death. It was an indication of one’s total humiliation.
So, when the disciples and the crowd heard Jesus speak of taking up the cross, they immediately knew that only a person who is willing to endure shame, embarrassment, reproach, rejection, persecution and even martyrdom for Jesus’ sake, can be His disciple. A man who took up his cross had already begun his death march, carrying the very beam upon which he would be hung.
So, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you must be willing, in your service to the Lord, to suffer the indignities, the pain, and even the death of a condemned criminal. In other words, “if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye” (1 Peter 3:14)!