Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:3 ESV)
Unstoppable, Jesus set His face toward the steep hill. Step by excruciating step. Searing pain emanating from His back weighed down, under the burden of His cross. Carrying death on His raw, bleeding back, so we could rest easy. So we might not grow weary. He endured it all without regret, for us to embrace peace, experience joy and cling to hope in the face of our own versions of suffering.
Before Jesus offered Himself on the cross, before He died, He challenged the disciples to follow Him by denying themselves and taking up their cross daily. He was using this metaphor to foreshadow the way He would die.
Yet, I often wonder, what the disciples thought He meant. Why would He make a reference to taking up the cross, how morbid? That was how criminals died. They weren’t criminals.
Yet, haven’t we been robbing God since the beginning of time? Stealing His glory. Congratulating ourselves. Look at me! Look what I did!
All in vain, because the Father isn’t interested in our accomplishments, He wants our company. Jesus invites us to give up our self-effort. Then we will be unstoppable, just like Him!
Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? (Luke 9:23-25 The Message)