Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 NABRE
Jesus speaks to His disciples about being killed and raised on the third day. Following the predication of His death He speaks to the disciples about following Him down this same road. Where Jesus goes, His disciples must go. Jesus will surrender His life for them, and they must be willing to surrender their lives for Him and others. Jesus says we must first deny ourselves. This is sometimes impossible to imagine, to deny ourselves we are putting every other person before ourselves. Denying yourself is disowning yourself, it is like declaring you don’t exist, you don’t have any priority, everyone else comes before you. Jesus has done this first and we are expected to do it as well if we want to be a follower of Jesus. Then Jesus insists that every disciple must take up his cross and follow his Messiah. We have heard this so much we may not fully understand the depths with which we are being asked to sacrifice. Crucifixion was the Roman form of a death penalty, it was not only cruel and painful, it was quite humiliating. Jesus invites us to think of the Christian life precisely along the lines of a crucifixion, we suffer, endure humiliation and do it all while praying for our persecutors. Jesus demands we commit to faith, no matter where it may lead, only desiring to do the will of the Father. Jesus promises everyone who follows Him down this road, will find their life.
Giving up our own sense of self is very difficult, putting others before ourselves even more difficult. We are not to be timid in following. Followers committed to living as Jesus lived are to give up their life for every other person without prejudice.
Are you able to disown yourself? Can you live a crucified life?We are not to be timid in following. Followers committed to living as Jesus lived are to give up their life for every other person without prejudice. Click To Tweet
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