When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me;
Lo, it glows with peace and joy.
LSB 427 st. 2
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’”
“How is your walk with Jesus going?” This question is quite common in the church, and it can be hard to nail down its meaning. How is your prayer life? How is your church attendance? How is your marriage? In other words, our “walk with Jesus” is used to mean how well we are reflecting Him, and how well we are living the way He would have us live.
Jesus paints our walk with Him quite differently; rather than describing the measure of our own sanctification, our Lord describes the Christian walk as one of death. We are not walking empty-handed but carrying our cross, and there is only one place where that journey ends: Golgotha. The Christian life is lived at the foot of the cross. While the crosses we carry throughout our Christian life may look different for each of us, they are all the same in their end. No one carries a cross except to be crucified upon it.
Here, however, lies the beauty of the Christian life: our own crucifixion is not an occasion for sorrow but for joy, because we have been crucified with Jesus! As Paul teaches us in Romans chapter 6, we have been crucified and buried into Jesus’ death through our baptism and our walk to Golgotha is no longer a walk to death, but to life! To follow in the footsteps of Jesus, footsteps that lead to His death and burial, is to walk in the Way of Life! Therefore, the death of a Christian, whether young or old, can truly be called “blessed;” the Christian takes up his cross and follows Jesus to Golgotha and into death, knowing that following Jesus into the grave is also to follow Him out of it!
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for bearing our sins on Your cross as You suffered, died, and rose for the forgiveness of our sins. Be with us as we take up our cross and follow You, that at the end of this life’s journey we may be where You are. In Your most holy Name we pray. Amen.
(Theodore Hoham, Sem. IV)