#DailyDevotion If You Want To Follow Jesus Get Ready For Some Loss
Mark 8:34-38 34He called the people as well as His disciples. “If you want to follow Me,” He told them, “deny yourself, take up your cross, and come with Me. 35If you want to save your soul, you will lose it. But if you will lose your soul for Me and for the good news, you will save it. 36What good does it do you to win the whole world and lose your soul? 370r what would you give to buy back your soul? 38If in this unfaithful and sinful generation you’re ashamed of Me and what I say, then the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when He comes with the holy angels in His Father’s glory.
Can we say things are getting serious here? Following Jesus is not really a difficult concept until Jesus tells the people and disciples what that will entail. He tells them, and us, “deny yourself, take up your cross and come with me.” I don’t think these three things are necessarily different, just different ways of saying to same thing. What does it mean to deny yourself but to take up your cross and follow Jesus. But what a strange turn of a word there for Jesus. I don’t think anyone was talking about the cross in this manner. Jesus told his disciples just earlier he was going to die. He didn’t say how yet. But now this seems to be showing the way.
Is Jesus asking us to be crucified on a wooden cross? Well, we certainly should be ready for it. There are however many ways we can carry our cross coming with Jesus. It may be a thousand cuts from unbelievers and hypocrites along the way concerning your faith in Jesus. We might lose jobs or businesses because of our faith in Jesus. People may think we are crazy for believing in Jesus or ignorant (which is itself a pretty ignorant thing to do). Anyone of us could experience any number of suffering and pain, illness and disease and we are called to bear that particular cross faithfully.
What is certain, if you try to save your life by denying Jesus and what he has done for you, you will lose your soul. Jesus demands our loyalty and faith (which itself is a gift from him). If you are willing to lose your soul, i.e. die, for Jesus and the good news, you will in fact save your soul, your life. This is not a complicated thing. It is a difficult thing. If it were difficult it wouldn’t be called a cross.
Some people apparently would be willing to lose their soul to gain the whole world. But this world is transitory. It is fading and wasting away. God’s kingdom is eternal. If you could actually sell your soul, like to the devil, how could you buy it back? Then again, if you are not a follower of Jesus, you already belong to the devil. The good news is Jesus has redeemed you with his blood and has made a claim on you. He has bought you and ransomed you with his blood. Why would you turn your back on such a gracious king? Yet, it seems people do it all the time. It’s like they don’t believe there is anything after this or they’ve done everything they need to earn or win for themselves a good afterlife. They will be terribly disappointed.
Jesus closes here with a stern warning we should take to heart. If we are ashamed of our crucified, Jewish Messiah in this age, he will be ashamed of you and disown you before the Father when he returns in glory. Don’t do that. Follow Jesus and take up your cross instead.
Heavenly Father, grant us faith and your Holy Spirit so we may take up our cross and follow Jesus, ever proclaiming him as our LORD and Redeemer. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.