Ben Child, writing for The Guardian, says that actor Jim Caviezel claims that, since taking the role of Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 The Passion of the Christ, he has been shunned by his own industry.
Prior to that film Caviezel was an established actor in Hollywood, but says he was warned by Gibson that if he took the job, “You will never work in this town again.” Caviezel says he replied, “We all have to embrace our crosses.”
His comment referred to what Jesus said to his disciples just after telling them that, as the long awaited Messiah (Matt 16:13-17), he needed to go Jerusalem to suffer and die at the hands of religious leaders, before rising again the third day (v 21). When Peter resisted, saying something like, “No! Never! Not you Lord!” (v 22), the Teacher went on to say, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 16:24-25).
Over the years I’ve thought a lot about those words. Since Jesus had not told his disciples how he was going to die, and that he was going to literally carry the weight of his own means of execution part of the way to Golgotha, his words to take up their own cross to be his disciples and to find “life” must have left them wondering what he was talking about.
On other occasions I’ve heard “having our own cross to bear” used as a way of characterizing almost any kind of difficulty that we have to personally endure in life.
For our Lord, his cross involved a willingness to suffer and die so that others could live.
In that light, then I’m left wondering, if the issue for Jesus was not suffering in general, but a certain kind of dying, what kind of self-denial would qualify to be called our cross to bear? What doesn’t qualify? And why is this worth thinking about?
Let’s talk about it…Have you wondered about any of these same questions? What do you come up with?