In Matthew 16:21-25, Jesus predicts His death and resurrection and rebukes Peter for not being mindful of the things of God. The things of God, meaning the cost of actually following Him. He says in verses 24-25, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” In His teaching, he unfolds that He will deny His own life and carry a cross that leads to losing it, as well as telling them that anyone who wishes to follow Him will have to do the same.
This saying is not a contradiction to Jesus being our burden bearer. This same Jesus said, “come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28 Jesus indeed carried the weight of our sin and punishment so that we could be free. But being a disciple and following Jesus means living as He lived. He carried a heavy cross. In fact, the cross was so heavy, and Jesus so weak, that He fell under its weight and needed someone else to carry it for him. (Luke 23:26)
Think about that for a minute. The burden that Jesus was carrying was so heavy that He fell under its weight and needed someone else to come and carry it for Him. God wasn’t angry that Jesus collapsed under its weight, and He isn’t angry with you when you do. Matthew 12:20 says, “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.” Instead, He sends someone to help you along the journey, someone who will pick up that cross for you and help you walk your difficult road.
In Exodus 17, Moses led the children of Israel out to the battle. They won as long as he held up his arms. But if he began to put his arms down, they began to lose. The weight of millions of people rested on Moses’ ability to hold up his arms. In his natural strength, he couldn’t do it. So, Aaron and Hur came beside him, and each held up an arm. Because they were willing to help bear his burden, the children of Israel won that battle.
We may not be able to take each other’s problems or issues away, but we can help bear one another’s burdens by prayer and compassion. We can walk the walk together. Jesus couldn’t do it alone, and neither can we. We need one another. Instead of judging one another when we fall, let’s help each other back up. Maybe their cross was too heavy. Even on the cross, Jesus believed the best in those who were the reason He was carrying a cross. He said, “Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
1 Corinthians 12:23-26 (NLT) says, “And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.”
We are the body of Christ. If one hurts, we all hurt. Galatians 6:2 (NLT) “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Today, we can be the encouragement someone desperately needs. How about it. Let’s show the world how it’s done. Let’s be disciples.