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Gladly The Cross I’d Bear

The above title is based on an old Christian joke that tells of a hymn by this name that was misunderstood by a child to refer to a cross-eyed bear named Gladly! It is not known if there ever was such a hymn, but the idea for the title surely comes from the words of the Lord Jesus Christ:

“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 10:38,39).

It is commonly taught from these words that “everyone has his cross in life to bear,” that we all face different challenges in life, and if we bear them well we will go to heaven. That this cannot be our Lord’s intent can be seen from Mark 10:21, where the Lord told the rich young ruler:

“…take up THE cross, and follow Me.”

Here we see the Lord was not speaking of each man having his own personal burden in life to bear that was distinct from that of others, but rather that He had one cross in mind that each man had to shoulder, and in so doing make it his own. By examining the context of each time the Lord spoke about bearing a cross, we can learn about the particular cross He had in mind.

Often when the Lord spoke about bearing a cross (Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34 ; Luke 9:23), it was in the context of His own death on the Cross (Matt. 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22). Thus the “cross” that the kingdom saint was asked to bear was a willingness to give his life for the Lord, just as the Lord had given His life for them. This willingness to die for the Lord is also mentioned in the context of bearing the cross (Matt. 10:38,39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24).

But while many kingdom saints gave their lives for the cause of Christ, as will many more in the coming Tribulation, certainly not all Hebrew believers were called upon to bear the cross of martyrdom. However, the context of many of these “bear his cross” verses indicates that there was yet another way that kingdom saints could give their life for the Lord. It is significant that several times after speaking of bearing the cross, the Lord said:

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul” (Matt. 16:26 cf. Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25).

Since the Kingdom gospel included the command to sell “all” of one’s belongings (Luke 12:33 ; 18:22), it appears that the “cross” the Lord asked all kingdom saints to bear was the selling of all their material possessions.

And so, in summary, the “cross” the Lord asked the Hebrews to bear was the giving of their lives for Him, some as living sacrifices and some as dying sacrifices, just as He had given His life for them.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.