“It is necessary that the Son of Man suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.” Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it. For what does it benefit someone if he gains the whole world, and yet loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and that of the Father and the holy angels. Luke 9:22-26
The death of Jesus on the cross was contemptible. Yet, without it, His grace and His love will not be manifested. He went through all the troubles of suffering and death so He could provide new life to those who would believe and trust Him. Though there was no reason for Him to die a criminal’s death, yet He went through with it all because He loved us. He taught, He healed, and He forgave. Those who responded to His sacrifice as the only means to salvation, He commanded them to take up their cross and follow Him. He wants those who placed their faith in Him to die in their selfish desires and let the life of Christ be magnified in them. This is manifested when we stop boasting about ourselves, but in humility we begin to be loving and kind and when wronged, there's willingness to forgive. This life is seen when we no longer value the things of the world but instead we promote a life of faith in God. God’s goal for us is that His life gets reflected in us and through us. To follow Christ and live for Him is the highest calling a person could have. He calls us to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3). If you are a child if God, do you walk worthy of Him? To live for Christ relying on our own strength will be impossible. But this is not how He planned it to work. Christ wants to walk with us and help us so that our burden becomes light. “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you... For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). So, do not be ashamed of who you are in Christ.
Noel De Guzman