In ancient Rome, there was a particularly gruesome method for executing certain criminals, called ‘crucifixion’. The condemned man was forced to pick up and carry a very massive, cumbersome timber cross to the designated spot, knowing all the while that upon arrival he would be nailed to it and hung up there until he died.
This was not a cheap-and-easy method of execution. It was very difficult, it was very expensive, and it took a very long time. It was not used on all criminals, but rather only on those especially hated by the government, and of whom the ruling authority wished to make an example. It involved a lengthy period of physical and psychological torture, as the condemned struggled under the burden of his own instrument of death and felt the lash of a whip whenever he stumbled or slowed. It was also a very public spectacle, as the dying man hung up in full view of everyone, burning with agony and shame as they heaped scorn and insults upon him.
When Christ Jesus says, “Take up [your] cross and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24) it should be taken as a dire warning. The life of a disciple of the Lord is neither comfortable nor easy. It is not marked by fame, acceptance, and the goodwill of all mankind. It is instead marked by discomfort, rejection, derision, and outright hatred.
If you have never experienced this, then perhaps you aren’t doing it right.
Anthony Vaughan #308-236
P.O. Box 56
Lebanon Ohio 45036