Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow Me, must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For, what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Jesus had just told His disciples that He was going to suffer many things at the hands of the “elders, chief priests and the scribes,” then, He told them that if anyone is to follow Him, he must deny himself and take up his cross.
Jesus is not teaching that martyrdom was the way to salvation, but a willingness to live a life of denial, if necessary, to go where Jesus says to go; be what Jesus says to be; and to keep on doing it as long as He commands.
The “God’s Word” translation has it, “Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses, and follow me.”
How Far Are You Willing To Go?
There are many people who say they are believers but they have no interest in the kind of life that Jesus speaks of, just as there were multitudes who followed Him for the free happy meals that He miraculously provided, and to see Him perform the miracles of healing; but when going got tough, they were nowhere to be seen.
Jesus said, if anyone is willing to deny himself/herself, for Christ’s sake and follow Him, they would find life. The life that Jesus gives is life abundantly. It is a life filled with joy. It is a life that provides peace with God. It is a life that insures hope. It is a redeemed life where sin is defeated and righteousness is imputed. And, it is a life of fellowship with the Lord Jesus and the best people on the face of the earth. What would you give or trade for such a life? Nothing, absolutely nothing, of this sinful world compares to the life that we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. Truly, we are the most blessed people because we are the blessed of the Lord. Amen, amen and amen.