Luke 9:23 says, “Then He said to them all: If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Jesus is in the company of his disciples. The disciples have returned from a journey wherein they went through towns and villages preaching the gospel and healing people.
Jesus says to them, “if anyone would come after Me.”
Jesus was a physical being they could see, touch, and speak too. We will see Him when He returns. However, in our text, our physical being is not the focus. “Come after Me,” stands close in its meaning to faith (faith in me).
Note: John 6:37, says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me, I will never drive away.” John 6:44 says, “No on can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
We are not left to ourselves in the choice of following Jesus; it is the work of grace.
And so, our text says, “He must deny himself and take up his cross.” Self-denial means to renounce and disown the life we made for ourselves; it means surrendering control of our lives, and giving the right to control our lives to Jesus Christ.
When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, we receive life. We see it in the death and resurrection of Jesus; He surrendered his life on the cross; only to take it back again.
John 12:25 says, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Jesus knows he will surrender his life on the cross; an instrument of torture, pain, agony and death. Selfless surrender was the death of Jesus on the cross. To take up our cross and follow Jesus is to die to the works of the flesh, and purge from our souls the love of the world. We surrender all the world embedded in our human nature to God, letting Him, reset our way of life in Jesus Christ.
A.T. Pierson said, “Getting rid of the self-life is like peeling an onion; layer upon layer — and a tearful process!
Lord God, All Mighty God, Father who is in Heaven; Great and mighty is your name. Your are God and beside you, there is no other God. You, O Lord are our redeemer, our savior, our protector, our provider, our hope and expectation. You alone are worthy of our praise and adoration; you alone we worship and praise. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! Praise your holy name.
Lord Jesus, thank you for taking control of our lives. Thank you for the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and thank you for sending angels to attend to our lives. Our hearts are light knowing that where you lead us, we will gladly follow. Lord, bless and praise you for being the head of our lives. In Jesus name we pray. Amen