Idk about you, but sometimes the weight of what the Bible says doesn’t really hit me. When I read or hear about what Jesus or the disciples or the people of the Old Testament wrote, sometimes I’m like “oh yeah! That’s good stuff” and then completely go about my business without letting the weight of what was written/said ACTUALLY seep into me.
For instance, “And He [Jesus] said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit for a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?’” – Luke 9:23-25
At first glance it could be really easy to think: “Oh yeah—JESUS! I can do that, I just got to follow Him, say I’m a Christian, and avoid the big sins! Got it: don’t get drunk, don’t have sex before/until you’re married, don’t murder, don’t steal—I got this!! I’m a good person, I’m a believer—this is a warning for those other people, the SINNERS!!! Thanks God!!”
I think that sometimes we don’t take what Jesus said as seriously as we should. This is a man that is the SAVIOR of the ENTIRE human race—the entire WORLD!!! This is THE most IMPORTANT person. Why do we not hang on every word He says?
Idk about you, but if someone famous or important walked into the room right now—I would be DEAD silent. I would be hanging on EVERY word they said.
Imagine going to a convention or a talk that had a really notable person speaking. If you’re like me (which I realize many are not bc I’m #extra) you’ll have your notebook and pen in hand, or notes app open on your phone, scurrying away to get every word right of the beautiful knowledge and wisdom they are imparting on you. It’s as if their words were made of pristine jewels or something—as if their value was immeasurable.
So if we do that for someone as lowly as another human being, why don’t we do it for Jesus who is more important than anything and everything else in creation?
I think that’s something to think about—I know I’ll be pondering on it!
So now to the actual text—JESUS is speaking to ALL, everyone, sinner and saved combined. This message is not directed toward one or the other—NO ONE is exempt from this message.
To be a follower of Jesus Christ is to be a follower of Christ. And you know what followers do? The FOLLOW where their leader goes. So doesn’t this verse say “if anyone would come after me”? I’m pretty sure that the words “come after“ would be to follow after, wouldn’t you think? So, this is talking not only to EVERYONE but to the ones that are claiming to be followers of Jesus.
What Jesus is saying here is that if anyone wants to follow Him, they need to pick up their cross DAILY and deny themselves. That’s some heavy stuff.
And I know my first reaction is: “does Jesus actually mean that?”
Yes, I do believe that He actually means that.
Jesus did not come to bring rainbows and sunshine and to make us feel all warm and gushy on the inside—no, Jesus came to CONVICT us of our sins and love us enough and die so that we don’t have to pay the price for them.
“Do not suppose that I [Jesus] have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” – Matthew 10:34
Jesus says that whoever seeks to SAVE his life—to live for himself, to live for the flesh—the flesh being ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that is seeking fulfillment in things other than Him or from Him, the flesh is the independence living within us, the desires that go against God’s Word—it is the very ESSENCE of our wretched sinful bodies. It is something that I am so ridden with that my sins feel so dark and more black than night.
But praise God that the very conviction I have shows that I have His Spirit working within me to sanctify me to grow more and more to look like my Savior.
It isn’t about the fact that you sin or are tempted—it’s what you do with those temptation and what you do after you realize you have sinned.
THAT is what Jesus is saying by “taking up his cross daily”—it’s the realization that we sin DAILY. It’s a realization that it is present but that it shouldn’t stay that way. It’s about picking up that sin and giving it to Jesus because He already paid the ransom for that sin when HE picked up my cross, your cross, the world’s cross. We paid it when He was NAILED to the very wood that we deserved to be nailed to. It’s a realization that Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to and that we choose not to sin.
Jesus loves us so much—but He wants people who want Him. Just as we long to be wanted, so does He.
So with that my friends, I bid you farewell from this tale.
Thanks friends, keep on pressing through.
I know I am too.
Also, the inspo for this post: