23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
I've read that Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a story in six words. After he had done that he said he felt it was his greatest work. The words read, "For sale: baby shoes, never used." Reading this story tells the story, but leaves one wanting to dig further as to why. It's human nature to want to know why.
We all have heard and even repeated Luke 9:23 but for each of us the answer to what it means is different with each new day we face. Even the words "take up his cross" will mean different things to different people because Jesus is speaking directly to the reader when he says his cross. We don't pick up the cross of others, but rather pick up our own cross... daily. It's all part of accepting Jesus Christ by faith. One commentary by Darrell Bock, I read said it like this:
The essence of discipleship is humility before God. That humility expresses itself as self-denial. Taking up the cross daily and following Jesus means approaching ministry in the world as he did. He served and gave of himself daily, even to the cultural ignominy of publicly bearing rejection on the cross (Acts 5:30; Gal 3:13). The Savior bore rejection and death for others, and the disciple must follow in the same path of service. We must be prepared to accept rejection as a given. Everything Jesus teaches his disciples in chapters 9--19 will underscore this point.
Other commentaries said the cross is not ours but the cross of Jesus. Either way, I feel Jesus meant it to be the same. It's a short story with big impact and I am thankful for the message and the desire to know more.