Believers carried the cross until grace came in AD70
1 Peter 1 “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”
I used to think that Jesus only commanded “carrying the cross” to people who lived before the Cross under the law.
But that is not what the Bible shows.
Jesus said that the law remained until the last day.
Jesus commanded believers to carry the cross before the cross and AFTER the cross UNTIL AD70.
Matthew 16 “24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. 28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.””
Luke 14:27 “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
The 12 apostles and Paul carried the cross, dying as martyrs.
The church suffered intense persecution in the name of Jesus in the 1st Century (time of great tribulation).
They had to follow Jesus, carrying the cross of persecution and martyrdom.
Hebrews 12 “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Jesus told his church to be faithful until death.
Revelation 2 “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”
Revelation 12 “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
“Philippians 3 “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”
Romans 8 “17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. “
Romans 12 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
2 Corinthians 12 “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Thessalonians 1 “Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.”
Galatians 4 “At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.”
Hebrews 10 “Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.”
2 Timothy 3 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”
1 Peter 2 ” 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
Why did they have to carry the cross and follow Jesus even after He died on the cross?
It is because Jesus told them that they would be His witnesses (the greek word is MARTYR)
Acts 1 ” 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.””
The 1st Century Church were the witnesses of Jesus Christ – they followed Him by carrying the cross.
1 Peter 4 “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
Revelation 14 “They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. …. 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.”
They obeyed Christ’s commandments of carrying the cross, loving others by giving their lives for one another.
1 John 2 “16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
All of this was required because the law still remained until AD70.
The law ended in AD70.Today we live in the AGE of GRACE.
We are saved by simple faith in Jesus and not by carrying any cross.