“Whoever does not
Take up the cross
And follow after me
Is not worthy of me.”
καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος.
This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 14:27, indicating a Q source. Matthew had Jesus repeat this remark in chapter 16:24, about the same theme of unworthiness. Mark, chapter 8:34 has the carrying of the cross as a condition of discipleship. If you did not take up his cross (καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ) and follow after Jesus (καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου), you were not worthy of Jesus (οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος). This assumes knowledge of the cross and suffering of Jesus. To be a follower of Jesus, you had to follow him and take up his cross. The cross was the Roman way of punishment and execution. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, it became a symbol of the death of Jesus on the cross.
“Now Mordecai took his rest in the courtyard with Gabatha and Tharra, the two eunuchs of the king who kept watch in the courtyard. He overheard their conversation. He inquired into their purposes. He learned that they were preparing to lay hands upon King Artaxerxes. He informed the king concerning them. Then the king examined the two eunuchs. After they had confessed it, they were led away to execution. The king made a permanent record of these things. Mordecai also wrote an account of them. The king ordered Mordecai to serve in the court. He rewarded him for these things. However, Haman, son of Hammedatha, a Bougaean, was in great honor with the king. He sought to injure Mordecai and his people because of the two eunuchs of the king.”
Once again, a eunuch was a castrated man who personally served the king. It is not clear why Mordecai was sleeping with these 2 men in the courtyard. Nevertheless, Mordecai heard their conversation where they were plotting to overthrow and kill the king. He turned on the 2 eunuchs and told the Persian King Artaxerxes what he had heard. The king examined the situation, as the 2 eunuchs confessed their plot. Then the king had them executed. He ordered Mordecai to write an account of the affair, and serve in his court. All looks well for Mordecai. However, Haman comes on the scene. He may have been behind the plot of the 2 eunuchs because he does not seem happy that Mordecai uncovered it. He was a man of high honor but he was also against Mordecai’s people, the Jews.