And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
By David Wilkerson
It is very true that Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). But Jesus fell under the load of his cross, weary, exhausted, and unable to carry it another step. John said, “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called … Golgotha” (John 19:17). The Bible does not tell us how far Jesus carried his cross, but we do know that Simon, the Cyrene, was compelled to pick it up and carry it to the place of crucifixion (see Matthew 27:32).
Jesus had reached the end of his endurance; after all, there is only so much one person can take before they come to a breaking point and Jesus’ cross had become too heavy to bear. So, what does this mean to us? Would our Lord make us do something he could not do?
Jesus knows exactly what he is saying when he calls us to “take up our cross and follow him.” He understands the agony, the helplessness, the burden that crosses create. He remembers his own cross and he knows we cannot carry our cross all the way in our own strength.
There is a hidden truth here that is so powerful and edifying, it could change the way we look at all our troubles and hurts. And even though it sounds almost sacrilegious to suggest that Jesus did not carry his own cross, that is the truth. What this means to us today is that Jesus, who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities, experienced what it is to be weak, discouraged and unable to go on without help. He was in all points tempted just as we are.
The temptation for us is not in failing, not in laying down the cross because of weakness; the real temptation is in trying to pick up that cross and carry it in our own strength. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).