The Cross to us is not the same as what it was to Jesus. To Jesus it was a place of death, sacrifice, pain and reproach (for our sakes), but to us it is a place of GRACE, because at the cross we met with Jesus(Grace Himself), at the cross, He took our sins, sickness and disease away Matt.8:17, at the cross, He gave us a new life John3:16, at the cross, we found Grace John 1:14. That was why Jesus said to the rich young ruler, amongst all other things, “…take up the cross and follow me”. Notice that as at the time He said so, he hadn’t gone to the cross yet but Jesus was speaking to this man prophetically, saying “Grace has being offered to you, now take it and follow me (the exact same words He said when He called each one of the disciples Matt 4:18-19, Mark2:14, Luke9:59-62 & John1:43).
The Cross strongly represents Jesus and everything good He brought to us, because if not for the cross we would have being wallowing in sin, misery, curses and death, but for the triumph of the Cross, we are rescued and restored. Therefore Jesus was saying to this man, take up my Grace, take me up on my word of Grace (which I am speaking to you now) that is able to give you an inheritance amongst the saints Acts 20:32 and follow me; then you would experience heaven in your life. The problem here, was that Jesus was thought to bless this man, but this man (like many Christians are), saw another works challenge; only this time, He had reached his limits and couldn’t take up what He thought to be a works challenge, because his understanding was wrong. Thus, he went away sad, both at Himself and at Jesus, as He thought Jesus would have being wowed by his impressive resume of faithfulness to the Law but was shocked that he was still short of reaching the mark (for the Law never perfects, only Grace does Heb. 7:19). Thus Jesus was offering this man Grace, but He won’t receive it. He was saying to Him, take up My Grace (which is what the cross represents) and follow me, but unfortunately he didn’t understand it.
This is so typical of the law, it blindfolds and deafens its followers from the power of the Cross(Grace) and the truth about the cross (Peace and Love in Christ). The Cross is a place of Rest and Peace Col1:20 & 2:14, a place of refuge and transformation in the power of God 1Cor1:18 and a place of encounter with the Lord. This is a progressive walk with the Lord, You come to the cross, to encounter Grace and Grace puts to death the sin nature in you, makes you one with Jesus and imprints on you and in you, the mark of the cross, which is the Blood of Jesus Christ Gal6:17. From the cross you move on in revelation with Jesus to the grave, to discover that the grave is empty, for He is resurrected and you are resurrected with Him. From then you move on to ascension with Christ, becoming sitted with Him in heavenly places far above all works of the law, principalities and powers. You don’t stay there, you move on to the upper room and receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost; which is the baptism of power and Grace in fullness Matt3:11-12, Acts 1:8-9 & Acts2:2-4
You may say Jesus told many people to take up the cross and follow Him, no that’s not what He said. Although in the books of Matt.10:38, 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23 & 14:27 Jesus said whosoever would come after Him must first bear his cross (and not ‘THE’Cross). There is a huge difference between ‘the Cross’ and ‘his cross’. ‘His cross’ refers to the responsibility Everyman has to take up in following Jesus, which we’ve later come to understand in scriptures as the fight/stand of Faith. For Heb.11:6 reveals to us that without faith it is impossible to please God and whosoever ‘Comes to Him’(through Jesus) must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, this is what Jesus was referring to when He said ‘take up your cross’ and follow me(Hr was saying to you and I in those contexts, “take up your responsibility of Faith and follow me”. This was a figure of speech, referring to the stand of faith every true believer must take in following Jesus even at the face of adversity, Just as Jesus Himself had to take up His cross and pull through with His death by faith, believing in the plan of God for mankind through Him. That was why at the garden of Gethsemane He first prayed that the cup(of huge responsibility of the cross) should pass over Him. But as He prayed, the clearer He saw into the will of God and was strengthened, then He prayed “thy will be done ” Matt26:39-42. Thus, Jesus had long taken up His Cross From Gethsemane by faith before He physical began to take it openly John 19:17.
In the context of the rich young ruler, Jesus didn’t use the phrase ‘your cross’ rather He said to Him “…come, take up ‘The Cross’, and follow me”. This was referring to Grace. Jesus was offering this man His(Jesus’s) Grace. We come to the cross, broken, battered, shattered and confused but we are not to leave the cross the same way we came, nor with extra burden of sufferings, reproached and death. The cross ministers hope to us that Jesus has become our sacrifice, paid for our sin and died our death, the cross is our celebration of the power God, that He is risen and no more in the grave for our redemption and transformation at the cross. It is a celebration because no one rejoices at the death place of a man but if he rises again, then you can rejoice, just as everyone rejoiced at the death place of Lazarus when he rose again from the dead by the power of God. The cross is the strength of our faith that He defeated hell for us and gave us the liberty and victory in Himself as though we were the once that did it Col.2:14-16. The cross is the surety of the manifestation of our inheritance in Christ Jesus on the earth,( since He died and paid the price for us we should have all the good things of life)Rev.5:12. The cross is our place of encounter with the Grace of Christ, because at the Cross, Jesus succeeded in fulfilling all the demands of the law against man, nailed it to his cross and fully disannulled it, making it powerless in our life’s John19:20, Rom10:4 and Col.2:14 and by so doing established a new covenant with us Hebrews 8. The cross is our place of victory over the devil and all his entrapments against us because Jesus defeated him at the cross, made him powerless for our sakes and gave us His power over him(the devil) Col.2:14-15, Luke 9:1, 10:19, Eph.1:19-21 & 2:5-6.
It is Time for the body of Christ to change her mindset about Jesus and what the cross represents in our lifes. The more truth we receive and put to work about these the freer we would become, with abounding testimonies to the glory of God.