v 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.
Called to imitate.
You sometimes hear people who face difficulties say something like this ‘Well, that’s a cross I have to bear.’ I don’t think Jesus meant it that way; that is more like learning to endure in the face of inevitable problems. Jesus is saying however that we are called to take up a cross – that is a voluntary and defining decision. The cross we are called to bear is not something imposed on us by unfavourable circumstances, it is something gladly embraced in response to following Jesus. That was what the cross meant to Jesus. It was not Pilate who imposed the cross on Him, it was a decision and an action on his part to carry His cross and go to Calvary. It was His desire to rescue sinners and do eternal good for them that focussed His mind. It is this attitude of willingness to serve the needs of others rather than seek personal pleasure that makes us imitators of Jesus.