In the gospel narratives: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, one is pressed in one direction: the cross of our Lord. And even the resurrection’s meaning and significance is derived from the cross, our Lord’s death. And the lives of Jesus’s disciples were to actually be with him on that same journey:
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
If we think post-resurrection or post-Pentecost might be different, here are these words from the Apostle Paul, just one of many passages which makes it clear that a Christ-centered, crucified-shaped (cruciform) life is the norm for all of Christ’s followers today:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Everyone of Jesus’s apostles laid down their lives in martyrdom, the only exception being John, who tradition suggests was exiled and perhaps miraculously delivered from the same fate.
This is the Christ-shaped existence to which all believers in Christ are changed by the Spirit. As Paul says elsewhere:
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…