The Cross-bearer

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Standing in the crowded square, I’m peering over shoulders to see what the commotion is in the street. I see a man, barely clothed, dripping blood from the crown of thorns on his head to the lashes on his back to the chains around his ankles. He is surrounded by taunting soldiers. He carries, or rather staggers, under the weight of a wooden post. He’s bearing his own cross for his crucifixion.

I turn my head away, unable to watch this horror story play out. I cry out to my God, why? He whispers, “In time you will see, He will be crowned King. You will bear your own cross if you follow Him, but fear not, you too will be crowned.” 
Charles Spurgeon said, “There are no crown-wearers in Heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.” I believe this is true and very convicting.  Jesus’s definition of cross-bearing: a choice, out of faith, to pick up the cross and put down self to merely follow Jesus in the road to crucifixion. 
“And he [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). 
Us cross-bearers, walk in the bloody footsteps of Jesus, hearing the taunting soldiers, bearing the weight of this world. While we will be persecuted, nothing can ever separate us from the love of Jesus (Rom. 8:39). We have to remember that Jesus carried the cross for our sins and comes alongside us to help carry our crosses. In Isaiah 53:4, it says that Jesus bears our griefs, like he bore the cross and he carries our sorrows, like he carried the cross.  Jesus was pierced, crushed, bruised, punished and beat for our peace and for our healing (53:5).  Jesus, who endured the cross with joy (Heb. 12:2), is the ultimate example for us as cross-bearers and cross-followers. Yet, that road on which we fight and race down, doesn’t end at death. 
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). 
Struggling, enduring, striving through the race of life, assured by the original Cross while believing in the original cross-bearer, we are awarded, and proudly wear, our crowns in Heaven.