So for today’s post I want to talk about an important teaching that is found in Luke. Now I recently read this passage and I feel it is an important one to cover as it has to do with the fundementals of what it means to be a Christian. Let’s check out the passage.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?Luke 9:23-25 NASB1995
So this is a very serious and hard verse to understand and to really take into your heart. Jesus is telling His disciples that if they want to follow after Him, they need to take up their cross daily. Now the interesting part about this is that the disciples did not know that Jesus would in fact be cruxified on a cross. So what image is Jesus portraying here? He is saying that if you want to follow Him, you have to go to your own crucifixtion. Now at the time a crucifixtion was used by the Romans as a form of execution and as a way to make an example out of the one being put to death. This is because crucifixtion was a very brutal form of execution. It was extremely painful and it took a long time to die, so much so that they would break your legs so that you would actually die faster, otherwise it would take too long. Now you can see that Jesus is saying that you need to go to this form of execution daily. That is a super extreme image. And not only that but He says you need to ‘take’ up this cross. That means no one is forcing you to do this, but that you are actually doing it by your own free will. You have to enter into that punishment daily, by your own choosing. That is powerful. But let’s get to the next part of the passage. Jesus says that if you save your life, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for Jesus’ sake, you will save it. Now this is a strange thing to say right? If you save your life, you will actually lose it. But if you lose your life for Christ, you in fact save it. Now what is He actually saying here? Jesus is telling you that you need to give up your life to Him. Your wants, your plans, your time, your money, and everything that is yours. But He doesn’t take these things from you. It has to be freely given. Jesus will never force you to give your life to Him. And Jesus is so serious about this that He even says that if you were to own the whole world, you wouldn’t be able to save your soul. If you don’t lose yourself to Him, you will lose yourself entirely. So the message today is that we need to join ourselves to Christ by entering into His crucifixtion. And in doing this we become fellow laborers and we also give up our lives to Him just as He gave up His life for us.
Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.1 Corinthians 3:8-9 NASB1995
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.Galatians 2:20 NASB1995
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