Take Up Your Cross
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I have something to show you. (Hold up one of the crosses.) You know what this is, don't you? Of course you do, it’s a cross. (Show each cross, explain its function or uniqueness, and pass it around for kids to look at.)
Every day we see crosses all around us. People wear them as jewelry, hang them on the wall, use them as key chains, and sometimes even tattoo them on their bodies. When you pass by a church, you might see a cross on the steeple.
One day, as Jesus and His disciples were walking along a road, Jesus asked them, "Who do people say that I am?"
The disciples answered, "Some say John the Baptist or one of the prophets."
"And who do you say that I am?" Jesus asked.
Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Messiah."
Peter was right, but Jesus told him to keep it quiet for the time being. Jesus said, "It is necessary for me to suffer many terrible things. I will be arrested, tried, and killed. But after three days I will rise again."
Peter didn't like that! He took Jesus aside and told Him to stop talking like that.
But Jesus reprimanded Peter. He said, “You’re looking at things from a human point of view, not from God’s."
Then Jesus called the crowd of people who had gathered around to come and join Him and His disciples. "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang onto your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it."
So, what does this mean for us? It means that we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who was willing to give up everything so we can have everlasting life. It also means that those of us who want to be His followers must also be willing to take up our own crosses, give up everything, and follow Him.
The cross is so much more than a piece of jewelry, a work of art, or a decoration on a steeple. It’s a reminder of our Savior's great love for us and our call to follow Him!
God, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to die on a cross. As His disciples, help us to take up our crosses and follow Him. In Jesus' name, amen.