Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 10:38
“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” – Matthew 10:38
This verse speaks of trials that come upon us Christians because we are Christians. He is letting His disciples know that this life whereby we are committed to Him will not be an easy one. Jesus starts off with the following. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34. This sounds like a strange thing for Jesus to say, but when we fully understand what is meant here. It was not meant that the purpose of His coming was bring discord and contention. What He is saying is that this is the effect of His coming.
In the next verse, He is quoting the prophet Micah. Jesus’ words are, “For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Matthew 10:35-36. Again, this will be the result, not the intention of His coming. Micah words it this way. “Do not trust in a neighbor; Do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom Guard your lips. For son treats father contemptuously, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household.” Micah 7:6. Jesus essentially said the same as Micah, however Micah also refers to neighbors and friends as well.
Jesus then makes three statements designating three situations where Christ says people are not worthy Him. In verse 37 we read, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37. The meaning here is clear. If we do not love Him over and above anyone else, or we are not truly loving Him. If we do not love Him above everyone else and everything, then we do not truly have a true love and attachment to Him. Jesus uses the phrase ‘not worthy of Him’. What is alluded to is that we are not to be seen as a follower of Him if we do not love Him above everyone else.
And now we come to our focus verse. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:38. Lets look at this. In first century Rom, when a person is condemned to die by crucifixion, a part of the sentence was that they would carry their cross to the place of execution. To carry this incredible weight was exhausting and disgraceful and was hard to do mentally and emotionally as well. Then after the torture of carrying the cross to the place of execution, they were hung on this same cross, either by ropes or nails until they died. This was an extremely tortuous form of execution. So, to carry the cross here is a figurative expression denoting we must endure whatever is burdensome, trying, considered disgraceful in following Christ. It means to simply do what Christ requires regardless of what anyone says or thinks of us. It does not mean doing things for the purpose of being opposed, but simply doing what Christ calls us to do and being opposed because of it. Doing whatever is required in the scriptures and enduring whatever shame, disgrace or pain may come upon us. This is what is required of all Christians. Remember, Christ suffered much in order to pay the penalty for our sins. We should be willing to suffer in the work we do for Him.
Are we willing to endure anything in order to do what He has called us to do? I pray we all are.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.