Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 9:24 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
First, I want to say I had to miss our Verse of the Day for Monday and Tuesday of this week due to some medical issues. But now things are better, Praise God.
This verse is an important statement from Jesus, for it tells them what is required to be a true disciple of His. Three conditions of discipleship are laid out. We will be looking at these three conditions listed here. The first involves a need to deny oneself. This is much more radical than simply a denial of certain things. This mandates a rejection of a life based on self-interest and self-fulfillment. Instead a disciple is to be one who seeks to fulfill the will and the teachings of Christ. Another metaphor to express this act of commitment is to hate one’s own life.
The second condition involves the need to take up one’s cross. Jesus’ own crucifixion reveals more fully to Luke’s readers that this call is for a commitment unto death. There needs to be willingness to suffer martyrdom if need be. Luke added the need to do this daily “and take up his cross daily”, whereas Mark emphasized the initial act of denying oneself once and for all. “And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.“ Mark 8:34. Both are saying the same basic thing, for taking up His cross should be something we do daily, but even more as what Francis Schaeffer would say, “moment by moment.”
The final condition is the need to follow Jesus. In contrast to the other conditions this verb is a present imperative, indicating that following Jesus must be continual. Following Jesus means striving to be like Him. He always obeyed His Father, so that’s what we should strive to do. To truly follow Christ means to make Him Lord. Every decision and dream is filtered through His Word with the goal of glorifying Him in everything. We are not saved by the things we do for Christ but by what He has done for us. Because of His grace, we want to please Him in everything. All this is accomplished as we allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control of every area of our lives. To follow Christ means we apply the truths we learn from His Word and live as if Jesus walked beside us in person.
Now He goes on to explain the why. He starts by our lives. “For whoever wishes to save his life shall 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 9:24-25. That is, do we wish to save our life here at the expense of our conscience and ultimately our eternal life with Christ? By casting aside the cross, we will lose our eternal life; the very evil we wish to avoid shall overtake us while losing our soul in the bargain. See then how necessary it is to renounce ourselves, for whatsoever a man loses in this world, for his steady attachment to Christ and his cause, he shall receive infinitely more in our eternal life.
And “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:25-26. When denying Christ, man does not profit in anything, but actually loses everything. This is essentially a proverb stating that one should live in light of ultimate values. The loss of one’s soul and experiencing God’s judgment is far too great a price to pay for possessing the whole world. To be ashamed of Him is the same as disowning Him. And when we do this, at His coming, He will disown us in the presence of the Father and the angels.
And then He closes with this. “But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who shall not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:27. There is a lot of questions regarding what this means. However, I see this as referring to His resurrection. He has been given all authority, meaning that His kingdom is here. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20. Some who were with Him there would be alive at His resurrection, and ultimately His Lordship, but some would not. I see this as picturing His kingdom as coming within a short period of time, for some would still be alive.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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