26. If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
27. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be My disciple. KJV.
Hate -c) to love less.
Bear -c) endure, declare, sustain, receive.
Disciple -c) a learner, pupil.
What does it mean to pick up or bear your cross?
Jesus had a literal cross that His body was fastened to with nails until all of His blood ran out of His body and He died. That was a torturous way of death performed by the Roman soldiers during the Roman Empire and in ancient times. There were other Christians who suffered death on a cross, but for most it is of a spiritual meaning.
I believe it is a form of self-denial. When your hands and feet are fastened to a cross, self-will is dying. You cannot do the things you want to do or go where you want to go. When Jesus says to “pick up your cross and follow Me,” He is saying to stop living for yourself and start living for Him.
It sounds cruel when in fact it is the opposite. Our own actions sometimes can lead us into very evil and difficult territory. But when we follow Jesus, He leads us beside still waters and in the paths of righteousness, (Psalm 23). He knows what we need and will only allow the suffering that will lead us to a blameless life.
In Luke 14:27 in Amplified says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother (that is in a sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God) and likewise his wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
Colossians 1:18 He also is the Head of His body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the First-born from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place — stand first and be pre-eminent. Amp.
The love that we feel for our families must not be as strong as our love for Him. We must give Him the first place in our hearts and our life must show that we do. Anything else would-be idolatry.
Deuteronomy 28:14 And you shall not go aside from any words which I command you this day, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. Amp.
To serve other gods means to do their will. When you serve someone, you are ministering to them. We are to minister to Jesus. We can get lost in doing the will of our families. Some are bound up because of a family member who is very controlling. Sometimes it may be that the family is loved more than Christ and they are actually afraid to tell them no.
Whatever is in the way the Lord will remove it if you only ask in faith. He loves us more than anyone else could possibly love us and knows what is best for us. We must trust Him and choose to follow Him no matter what the cost.
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me.
5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of: and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever. KJV.
SONGS – SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY – YOU CALLED ME BY NAME – MY JESUS, I LOVE THEE – MARTY NYSTRUM