“He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?” (Mark 8:34-36).
Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ comes almost exactly half-way through Mark’s gospel, and signals a change in the way Mark records Jesus’ life and teaching. It is followed by this stark passage in which our Lord sets out the basic conditions for discipleship: self-denial and the willing surrender of one’s life. “Taking up your cross” is more than the stoic putting-up with difficult circumstances that the phrase can be easily debased into meaning. It means laying aside all our demands for God to treat us in a certain way, all the claims we make on others, and all our rights to a certain way of life. It is a serious call that Jesus makes, but it is worth it. by laying all those things down we receive true and proper LIFE.
May you know God’s power to daily deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Jesus, wherever He may lead you.