This statement is one that must have caught the disciples by surprise. Today we don’t have the kind of understanding they would have had about what it meant to “take up his cross.” A man condemned to die by crucifixion would be forced to carry the very cross that would become his instrument of death. Remember Jesus Himself carried His cross to Calvary. Jesus called His disciples to a life of self-denial, putting aside any personal agendas or selfish desires to do the will of God instead. They would be asked to even be willing to die for the sake of Christ. Following implies that Jesus goes first and we walk behind Him. The times I’ve gotten myself into the most trouble in life were times I tried to run ahead of Him and “do my own thing.” Following is more than an act of submission; it’s discovering the joy-filled and purpose-filled life my Father planned for me. Are you willing to follow Him wherever He leads?