It Was Shed For You Because You Need It
“Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:27
Martin Luther said the cross reveals God working “Under his opposite . . . God receives none but those who are forsaken, restores health to none but those who are sick, gives sight to none but the blind, and life to none but the dead. He has mercy on none but the wretched and gives grace to none but those who are in disgrace.”
We know this because Jesus picked up the cross.
The problem is he calls us to do the same. I wish I could make a Christ-sized sacrifice, but I know myself. Ask where my pain is on a scale of 1-10 and a scraped knee will get you 9. I’m not looking for opportunities to suffer. I’m going to grab whatever comfort this hard life offers until the moment that I die.
And yet, I’m going to suffer whether I follow Jesus or not. So are you.
Your finely wrought opinions and interesting ideas will fail you. So will your money. Will you feel God’s love when this happens?
Your family will hurt you. Will you feel God’s love when they do?
Your body will betray you. Will you feel God’s love when it does?
The grave is coming for you. Will you feel God’s love when it arrives? How about the moment that you realize your children are already rehearsing your eulogy?
The question isn’t if a cross is in your future, but whether you will pick it up.
When your dysfunction overwhelms all others and you are utterly abandoned, Christ’s body will be at your side. It was broken for you.
In the most repulsive moment of your life, when self-loathing roars and your own heart offers nothing but a cold rejection, the warmth of Christ’s blood will save you. It was shed for you. You’re going to need it. So pick up your cross when it comes.
My God these are such strange claims. Thank you for making them such good news. Amen.
Matt Fitzgerald is the Senior Pastor of St. Pauls United Church of Christ in Chicago. He is the host of “Preachers on Preaching,” a weekly podcast sponsored by The Christian Century.