Matthew 10:38

Confusion of mind is caused by associating this figure with our Lord's crucifixion, or with the fact that he was required to carry his cross to the place of crucifixion. It cannot be too clearly pointed out, that our Lord used the figure to illustrate his teachings before his disciples had formed the faintest idea that he was to be crucified; and yet he must have meant them to understand him. They did understand. Cross-bearing was a commonly used figure of the day, and stood for "doing a thing that was disagreeable to do, or bearing a thing that was painful to bear, because it was right. In that sort of sense Christ used it in our text. Christian duty, sometimes painful, involves crucifixion of self, sacrifice of natural feelings." Dean Plumptre says, "These words would recall to the disciples the sad scenes which Roman rule had made familiar to them - the procession of robbers or rebels, each carrying the cross on which he was to suffer to the place of execution. They would learn that they were called to a like endurance of ignominy and suffering." It is, however, better to preserve the familiar proverbial character of our Lord's allusion.

I. EVERY CHRISTIAN MAN HAS HIS CROSS. Every individual has his cross. We all have to say, again and again, "Things will not be according to my mind." Becoming a Christian may alter our crosses, but it is pretty certain to multiply them. The more active and enterprising a Christian is, the more, and the weightier, will be his crosses. They will always be marked by their demand on the Christian to do what he ought rather than what he likes. A cross is that which puts a man on self-restraints and self-denials.


1. He may spurn it.

2. He may leave it.

3. He may lift it.

He is disloyal if he spurns it. He is negligent if he leaves it. He is true-hearted if he lifts it. This leads on to the thought that if "cross-bearing" is discipline, and may even be stern discipline, it is always sanctifying. Cross-bearing may even be figured as the "highway of holiness." - R.T.

He that taketh not; his cross.
I. WHAT IS IS PECULIAR CROSS? "He that taketh not his cross."

1. It may be the giving up of certain pleasures.

2. The endurance of reproach or poverty.

3. The suffering of losses and persecutions for Christ's sake.

4. The consecrating all to Jesus.

5. The endurance of my heavenly Father's will.


1. I an: deliberately to take it up.

2. I am boldly to face it. It is only a wooden cross after all.

3. I am patiently to endure it, for I have only to carry it a little way.

4. I am cheerfully to resign myself to it, for my Lord appoints it.

5. I am obediently to follow Christ with it.What an honour and a comfort to be treading in His steps! This is the essential point. It is not enough to bear a cross, we must bear it after Jesus. I ought to be thankful that I have only to bear it, and that it does not bear me. It is a royal burden, a sanctified burden, a sanctifying burden, a burden which gives communion with Christ.


1. Necessity: I cannot be a disciple without cross-bearing.

2. Society: better men than I have carried it.

3. Love: Jesus bore a far heavier cross than mine.

4. Faith: grace will be given equal to the weight of the cross.

5. Hope: good to my. self will result from my bearing this load.

6. Zeal: Jesus will be honoured by my patient endurance.

7. Experience: I shall yet find pleasure in it, for it will produce in me much blessing. The cross is a fruitful tree.

8. Expectation: glory will be the reward of it.Let not the ungodly fancy that theirs is a better lot: the Psalmist says, "many sorrows shall be to the wicked." Let not the righteous dread the cross, for it will not crush them: it may be painted with iron colours by our fears, but it is not made of that heavy metal; we can bear it, and we will bear it right joyously.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

When Alexander the Great marched through Persia, his way was stopped with ice and snow, insomuch that his soldiers, being tired out with hard marches, were discouraged, and would have gone no further, which he perceiving, dismounted his horse, and went on four through the midst of them all, making himself a way with a pickaxe; whereat they all being ashamed, first his friends, then the captains of his army, and, last of all, the common soldiers, followed him. So should all men follow Christ their Saviour, by that rough and unpleasant way of the cross that He hath traversed before them. He having drunk unto them in the cup of His passion, they are to pledge Him when occasion is offered; He having left them an example of His suffering, they are to follow Him in the selfsame steps of sorrow.

(John Spencer.)

The cross is easier to him who takes it up than to him who drags it along.

(J. E. Vaux.)

We are bid to take not to make our cross. God in His providence will provide one for us. And we are bid to take it up; we hear nothing of laying it down. Our troubles and our lives live and die together.

(W. Gurnall.)No man, said Flavel, "hath a velvet cross." As an old Yorkshire working-man, a friend of mine, said. "Ah! it is blessed work cross-bearing when it's tied on with love."

(Newman Hall.)Welcome the cross of Christ, and bear it triumphantly; but see that it be indeed Christ's cross, and not thine own.


Christ's cross is the sweetest burden that ever I bore; it is such a burden as wings are to a bird, or sails to a ship, to carry me forward to my harbour.

(Samuel Rutherford.)

The Saviour here, in His character of Seer, looks into His own future, and moulds His language accordingly. He sees the cross in the distance. He connects Himself with it. He comes out of Himself, as it were. to look at Himself with His cross. He sees Himself bearing His cross. The vision grows into a complete picture. His followers are bearing crosses too! And thus the heavenly procession moves on, until a point is reached where time melts into eternity, and earth is the stepping-stone to heaven. At that point there may occur what men call execution; but, looked at on its upper side, the event is coronation and glorification. The crown surmounts the cross.

(James Morison, D. D.)

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