“And He said to them all, If any man will come after me. let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23.
In the context we rend of the multitudes that followed Christ. And after the feeding of the five thousand Jesus and His disciples were alone. Jesus prays after which He asks them whom the people say He is? He then asks them whom say ye that I am? Peter answers saying, “the Christ of God.” He then tells them of His great suffering, and that all should reject Him.
Right after this Christ gives the text which I shall write on.
In it we read: Three requirements of true discipleship.
- Cross bearing.
- Following of Jesus.
First then: self-denial. What is self-denial for Christ’s sake? Oh, there is so much in life that we must be denied. Because of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we know God. and His blessed will. Often our hearts desire is denied us. Did not Christ leave His heavenly home, deny the blessed covenant life with His Father in heaven? He was cast farther and farther from Father’s love which He desired above all. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh that He might atone for the sin of His beloved people. He was the perfect One. If we would be His disciple we too must deny ourselves. Yes, it is oh so hard, for there is much that is of sin in us. and we often reply against God. Why must it be so? The answer is “for Thy sake are we killed all the day long”. We love God above all, and all things that are against Him we hate. Our life is not our own. We belong to Him who has died that we might live. If He has died for us, we in our life show that we do belong to Him and we shall follow in His footsteps.
Secondly: Cross bearing. Every Christian, every true disciple, has his or her cross. Jesus says, “must daily take up our cross.” Every day we have a cross. Some have a greater cross to bear than others. Many times we wonder if we can bear the cross that is placed upon us, it is so heavy, the cares, the worries of this life. God giveth sufficient grace for us to bear the cross. There is never a cross that is too heavy. Often, we are given a cross to bear to be drawn closer to the side of Christ. When we have many burdens and heartaches we look unto Him and cast ourselves upon Him. If we had no cross we would soon forget Him who is the giver of all. Daily we must go to Him with all our trials and heartache. He alone can help us bear the burden. Because of sin we have our Gethsemane. Christ in Gethsemane received no reply from the Father. But thanks be to His Name we are given an answer. We are comforted. Because Jesus received no reply and went into the eternal depths of hell, we receive a reply. The sweet words of Jesus, “thy sins are forgiven thee.” He gives us strength to bear the cross. And there shall come a day when our cross shall be taken from us, when we no longer shall be denied anything.
This leads me to my last point: Following Jesus: In this life we follow where ever He leads. It may be through great strife, or great joy, but follow we will. Where He leads me I will follow! He leads and we walk beside Him. We must do what He wishes us to do and what He will not have us do we must not do. Yea we must follow Him through the Valley of the shadow of death, but we do not fear. Even through death we follow, for He has opened the grave and we follow Him to heaven. Every day is a step nearer home. Christ has arisen and has ascended unto His Father and we must follow Him. Jesus has prepared a place for us. What a blessed thought here on earth where all is sin and evil! So many heart aches. There is an end to all our denial of self and cross bearing. For we follow Jesus to our home above, where we shall sin no more. We shall have a crown instead of a cross. Where all things shall be given unto us, we shall be denied nothing, for we shall see the light of our life, which is His glorious face. All longings and desires will be filled. Where want shall be no more. Where we shall praise His name for ever and ever.