My parish is going through the Arise program and tonight we read from the book of Mark. In our verses, Jesus tells the disciples that they must take up their cross and follow him…however, he wasn’t yet crucified. So, was this something that was added to Jesus’ actual words by the Gospel writers or did Jesus know the exact manner by which he would die?
When Jesus spoke of the cross, the disciples would have immediately understood he was referring to the execution Romans carried out as a means of capital punishment. This was well known in countries under the Roman occupation including Judea, Samaria and Galilee. They also knew that for one to be crucified, it would mean they would die so of course they understood when Jesus said “take up your cross daily” he meant metaphorically.
Jesus was man and God - a mystery for us. But we do acknowledge Him as God and as such He knew what was coming to Him. In Luke 12 v 19 He refers to a baptism He had to receive. So He knew what was coming.
I think you actually point to the real power of this passage.
“Take up your cross” for his listeners did not have a nice euphemistic churchy sound.
“Take up your cross daily” to them, meant, “every day, embrace a task which is excruciating torture, for me.” They had no other context. We should keep that in mind.