Matthew 16:24-26: These verses have been rolling over and over in my mind for a while now. They keep me up late at night and haunt me every waking second.
Matthew 16:24-26: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?”
These are the conditions of Discipleship, the rules for being a true follower of Jesus, so I think they’re important to understand. On the surface this means to live your entire life for Him. But I can’t help thinking that I’m not quite grasping the deeper meaning, the essence of these verses. I’ve especially been concentrating on the words “deny himself”. I looked to the handy dandy footnotes in my bible for a little guidance. They told me that “to deny someone is to disown him and to deny oneself is to disown oneself as the center of one’s existence.” Woah. So to deny yourself means to see everything as it relates to Christ, not yourself. He becomes the center of your thinking and actions. In everything I do I should ask, how does this serve Christ?, not how is this good for me? Now that I have discerned this, the challenge is putting it into action in my every day life.
My handy footnotes also told me that these conditions of discipleship can be found repeated in Matthew (10:33) AND all the other gospels. I turned to look at these other verses and found almost the same exact words in Mark 8:34-37 and Luke 9: 23-25. Even John, who is pretty different from the other gospels, has these conditions in some form in 12:25-26. This means that these words are really, really important and probably came directly from the sayings of Jesus.
I’ll be pondering these verses for a while, well really my whole life, as I try to live out the conditions of discipleship- to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Him.