Mark 8:34-38 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Jesus had been ministering to His disciples, but now He calls the crowds over so no one would think Christianity is just for a select few. The invitation is open to all.
Jesus isn’t looking for perfection in us, but movement. In a desire to grow. Being a Christian starts in a moment by faith and then becomes a progression. Jesus tells us here what we need to do.
1. Deny your supremacy. He demands a change of allegiance from your own life to His. “If any man would come after me” means if any one desires to come after Him. You have to desire it. And if anyone does – they are welcome. Christianity means to attach yourself to Jesus. To follow Him. Usually people put themselves in the center of their own lives. They are king of their own little world. But we need to put Christ in the center and realize He is the King of everything. And then we need to do what He says.
2. Crucify your desires. “Take up your cross” Jesus Himself took up His cross! He went through with God’s plan for Him at the cost of death not too many months after He told the disciples this. As Christians we need to live for God’s desires and His glory.
3. Follow your Master. Follow in His footsteps. We follow Him according to what He’s explained to us in the Word of God. Don’t follow your feelings. Don’t follow your common sense. Follow His guidance as it’s written in the Bible.
4. Forfeit your soul. Life is short – eternity is long. If we do stuff for ourselves, our own pleasures and for our own glory or benefit we lose. We need to forfeit our soul over to Christ who is the only one who can actually save it. When we forfeit our soul to Jesus He will give us everything we need!
5. Proclaim your Savior. In verse 38 He’s talking about our evangelism. Our boldness in speaking up for Christ – in proclaiming the Gospel. If we understand Him, if we are really saved, how could we possibly be ashamed of Him? How could we be afraid to speak up? To be more concerned with what other people think of us then what God thinks of us?