I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings. (Phil. 3:10)

NOW, I’M NO EXPERT, but I’m pretty sure this was not the way to start a movement. As Jesus’ popularity was rising, sparked by miracles and revolutionary teaching, He did a very puzzling thing. He started to talk about His death. Not just any kind of death, but death on a cross.

Then He took it a step further. Not only would He go to the cross, He explained that the invitation to “Come, follow me” actually means just that—His followers must go where He is going. They must take up their crosses and follow Him.

This just didn’t seem right. Many walked away in disappointment. This was not the kind of revolution they signed up for. You don’t overthrow a government by dying. You don’t conquer through submission. You don’t win by losing. This is not the way to start a movement. Or is it?

At the heart of the gospel message is the invitation to know Jesus. And as Paul reminded us in Philippians 3, if we want to know the power of Christ’s resurrection, we must first share in the fellowship of His sufferings. We cannot be raised up until we have been laid down. In this backward kingdom, death precedes life. Yes, Jesus invites us into His resurrection. But first we must pass through the cross. That is the movement. And it is quite the revolution indeed.

Take up your cross and follow Him.

Matt LeRoy is co-pastor of Love Chapel Hill, an eclectic church plant in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is married and has twin boys.