Mark 8:34b “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
A little context before I get to this verse. Here we see Jesus prophesying his death and resurrection and at the same time telling us what it entails. A couple of verses earlier we see some lovely revelation from Jesus. He reveals the foundation on which he would build the church (i.e the new creation christian) when he told Peter “on this rock (the revelation of Christ) I would build my church (Matt 16:18)”. Jesus said this after Peter through revelation from God described Jesus as Christ the son of God. Jesus also went ahead to tell the disciples that he would have to die for this to take place; Peter tried to stop Jesus from saying he would die but Jesus rebuked him sternly because he was being selfish. This is the main point I want us to drive to today so please read carefully. After the fall of man selfishness or self preservation became the number attribute of fallen man, we can see it in Eve and Adam’s reaction to the fall, they replied God in a self preserving manner. Just like them Peter wasn’t thinking about the Father’s will when he said what he said he wanted to preserve his amazing friend and Rabbi. This probably lead Jesus to this amazing short sermon about what a Christian should look like in the future(i.e after his resurrection).
Jesus said whosoever wants to follow him should deny himself. Whoever here means everyone is invited and you are no exception. What does denying oneself mean? Does this mean you must forget who you are, forget your talents and gifts, forget your career? No no no!!!. This is a call to forget your sinful human nature from Adam which produces everything we know as normal. This human nature is inherently selfish at the core and that is not who you are. When you got born again you became a new creature exactly like Christ. You must therefore live in that consciousness as a saint.
The next part says pick up your cross and follow him. I’ll let Paul of Tarsus explain this a little bit.
Romans 6:3-4 says Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the death by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Know ye not; this phrase address the consciousness part of your new nature in Christ. You need to deny yourself by knowing the truth about who you are in Christ; that is why Bible Study is one of the most important thing a Christian should do. In addition to this Paul goes a step forward and says walk in the newness of life; this means you should live out the life you have received. Let your light so shine before men. When you walk in this newness you will be able to really follow Christ. You follow your saviour by living like him saints.
To round this short grace tablet I’ll tell you that this life you receive after receiving Christ involves submitting to God’s will on earth. Denying yourself involves you getting to the point where you say thy will be done on earth, not my will be done on earth. This selfish my will be done was the same mindset Peter had when he wanted to stop Jesus from dying. He was selfishly thinking about keeping the most amazing person in his life with him. He didn’t want to loose Jesus. Jesus on the other hand was thinking about you and I. He was thinking about the fathers will to reconcile us to him through his death on the cross (thy will be done mindset).
In reality and practically following Jesus can be clearly seen through your love walk everyday. A wise man once said your love reveals your knowledge of God. John also said if you don’t love you don’t know God. Therefore as a Christian you need to live a life of love that will show you are his disciple, that is what following Christ today should look like. You should love not your own life on to death as Jesus said. Death should mean nothing to you because you’re more alive than ever when you’re in Christ. Therefore nothing men do to you should matter at all. That is why Stephen could die and not act all gloomy, sad or angry. He had life(Zoe- God’s life in him), he had denied himself, he was lost in Christ and he knew he could never die so all he had was love to give his murderers. Unfortunately most of us wake up everyday and we get angry, sad, frustrated and moody over the flimsiest reasons. Repent from this mindset and focus on your status in Christ.
Dear saints I believe its time to Die so we can live in Christ forever. Die already people its about time.