What is Luke trying to tell us here? Our thoughts always go to what the cross ultimately is in the end. What is it now before Jesus dies. We have to look at the gospel as a whole to know.
Luke's gospel sends us to the poor, to the forgotten, and even in direct conflict with the religious authorities. In its earliest chapters Jesus goes to his hometown synagogue and preachers from Isaiah that a year of Jubilee has come. It is when Israel is supposed to release any slaves they have, share the harvest, remember the stranger in your midst. So taking up this cross stands in direct opposition of the Roman state.
In the chapter where Peter is called there is a fishing expedition ordered by Jesus to the weary fishers Peter, Andrew, James and John. They have caught nothing all night. They go out and catch so many fish their boats almost sink. It is then that Peter recognizes who Jesus is and he asks him to leave him, a sinner kneeling before him. Jesus response is making them fish for men. Leaving everything they have known and following. This is a part of the cross in Luke also.
What does the cross mean to you? As I went on this search this week you'll see Laura's artwork and the Taize cross here in front. Visually each cross is different. It inspires different thoughts about what taking up our cross might mean. If you're reading this you won't have the benefit of our discussion on this, but I would challenge you to look and see what the cross means in different pictures.
What does the cross mean to you? It is out of this question Jesus is asking which helps us to count the cost. Because this is how the pericope ends. We have counted the cost of what it means to be disciples. Can we ever fully count the costs? Just look at how we started with Luke's costs: an enemy of the ruling empire, leaving everything we know and starting somethin new, here it is sell everything and follow, two weeks running it's been violating the sabbath to heal and finding new meaning of the law.
What does the cross mean to you? Have you counted the cost of following? Are you following out of habit? Is there something you truly want challenged and changed? Because these are only the tip of the iceberg accounting of the cross. Sometimes we are taken by surprise at the cost and we find we can't continue. Sometimes we find a natural reaction to the cost and leap in faith to do it. This is the Holy Spirits work.
Can we count the cost and make the leap to follow Jesus in this changing world of cost? This would be the better question. A challenge I would follow to the end. A road which might ultimately lead to this cross on which he is nailed. What is our sacrifice?