The gospel last week included the saying “pick up your cross and come after me.” The gospels were written after everything that happened happened, but in the moment, think how nonsensical that must have sounded.
Higher Critics, like the Jesus Seminar, reject all saying like that as inauthentic (i.e. Jesus never said them, the church made them up). One can understand such a reaction, but then read John 7:14-36, pay close attention to the end and the Jewish questions. “What does he mean by saying…”
The golden gut isn’t always reliable, but doesn’t that have the feel of truth. Some guy is walking around doing amazing stuff (i.e. the miracles). He gives teachings like the sermon on the mount and some of the parables. He eats with sinners and pokes up the status ladder instead of kicking down. And occasionally he says things like ‘pick up your cross’ or ‘where I am going you cannot come’. OK, Jesus, whatever you say. Just keep the bread coming and the show rolling is a natural response to those enjoying it. To those being poked, the eccentricities compound.
Rough edges, eccentricities, cryptic remarks, call them what you will, but Christ the prophet holds together contra the Jesus seminar. This is an example of something that makes complete sense in the original setting. Translating it to us is tougher. Where do those who follow Christ poke up the status ladder today? Who do they poke at? (Christ and prophets almost exclusively save their best poking for religious leaders.) What are their cryptic sayings that cause people to say “what does he mean?”