Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Crosses would have been a familiar sight, and an easily understood metaphor, in the first century. But at this point, not as pointed as we now understand it. For at this point they did not know that it was more than a metaphor to their Master. And would be more than a metaphor for some of them. In His final hours, Jesus denied Himself, bowed to His Father’s will, and literally took up His own cross, and followed the plan for mankind’s redemption that they had devised before the foundation of the world.
Denying oneself has never been easy. Today, when it’s all about “me,” it is countercultural. But we are called to be transformed from our fallen culture, not to be conformed to it. To let go of the sinful yet temporal pleasures of this world and take hold of the hands that were nailed to that cross. Jesus goes on to say, “what good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NIV 1984). The reality is, there is nothing we can gain in this world that we could give in exchange for our souls. Souls we forfeited when we bowed down to Satan’s schemes.
My Advice – Nothing in the “whole world” we can give, but one thing we can receive. Deny yourself. Lose your life to save it. Take up your cross and follow Jesus. After all, He took that path for you.