Some of you may remember the movie Sleeping with the Enemy which was made popular some years ago. I recall feeling traumatized by the fact that this woman was living with a husband who planned to murder her. But as in most movies, his plan did not succeed.
I thought of this movie as I read the story, for the umpteenth time, about the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot. How could Our Lord, who sees and knows all things, eat, sleep, talk and walk with Judas day after day, knowing his intentions? Jesus knew He came to this earth to die, no question about that. He knew he would be hanged on a Roman cross like a common criminal because that was His Father’s plan of redemption. And Jesus bore His cross willingly. But to be betrayed by a close friend in that manner seemed to be adding salt to the wounds.
And yet, many of us humans also bear our cross every day. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 10:38, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” And again in Matthew 16:24 He says: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
I believe that as long as we are following Jesus, we will have a cross to bear. It may be a marriage, a child, a job, our finances, our health. The list can go on and on. The Christian life is not an easy one, but while we are bearing that cross, if we would keep our eyes on Jesus, He will one day take it from us, just as His Father took His. And God didn’t just relieve Jesus of the cross, He gave Him a crown. He crowned Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We too will eventually exchange our cross for a crown if we keep on following Jesus.