Serious Business

“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23 NKJV).

Luke 9 represents somewhat of a turning point in God’s word. In this chapter, Jesus’ apostles to be are given a taste of the ministry which awaits them as he sends them out to “preach the kingdom of God” (vs. 2) throughout the towns in the area. Not long after their return, the twelve gather with Jesus as He prays (vs. 18). From this point forward, Jesus equips them with vital information.

First, Jesus establishes His conditions of ministry: the fact that He is God’s Son (18 – 20). The people of Judea have no idea of Jesus’ identity, believing Him to be Elijah, John the Baptist, or one of the prophets. Peter correctly identifies Jesus as “the Christ of God.” As God’s son, Jesus has all authority (Matthew 28:18).

Second, Jesus gives the charge to his disciples to “deny themselves” by taking up their crosses daily and following Him (vs. 23). Certainly, His disciples had never heard such a message. Jesus also made it known that to follow Him begins with a desire to do so.

Third, this new lifestyle of denial will require a change. From this point forward, every facet of their lives will be under Jesus’ control. Another version renders Luke 9:23 in this fashion: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead” (Message).

Finally, this change will have consequences. It may require a complete denial of all the world has to offer. However, Jesus assures them that anyone “who loses his life for My sake will find it” (vs. 24). In other words, what Jesus offers far transcends anything the world offers. In fact, focusing only on the world’s wealth – rather than eternal – is not profitable (vs. 25).

Today, we as God’s children reap the benefits of this lifestyle. Are you taking up the cross?

Song: “I Surrender All”

“Father, I pray that I’ll never be afraid – or ashamed – to take up the cross daily. May my life bring glory to You and Lord Jesus, always and forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Kenny Westmoreland, Celina, TN (lesterk@excite.com)