A disciple is one who responds in faith and obedience to the gracious call to follow Jesus Christ. Being a disciple is a lifelong process of dying to self while allowing Jesus Christ to come alive in us.
(p. 24 Discipleship Essentials, Ch. 2)
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
A thought for today:
The average person—man, woman and child—fears death. It is an instinctual sort of fear, as mankind loves the idea of legacies; of leaving behind on this earth something that will, in essence, make them immortal. People do not want to die thinking the world will not remember them. So, when the average person comes across this passage in Mark, which speaks of death, though not in so many words, they shy away. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. This not only has the potential to sound a little frightening, but it also, on the surface, is a little confusing. But in reality, it is not frightening nor is it confusing. In a word, it is wonderful. These verses are poetic and thrilling. When Jesus talks of losing oneself—in other words, of dying to oneself—He means only that we must give up our earthly world, our flesh-driven desires, and follow Him instead. If we do this for Him—if we turn away the world in which we are born and move towards His teachings, if we take up our cross and are willing to die for Him—He will save us and we will be granted an eternity in Heaven. What better legacy is there than this? Death in this case is not something to be feared, it is something about which to be excited. In abiding by Jesus’ teaching in these verses, we become greater disciples, for when we lose our lives we are choosing to follow Him and lead by his example. And if we lead by his example, we demonstrate His way to those around us and this enables us to disciple to them.
by Bethany Harris
Questions to prayerfully ponder and challenge us in this devotional.
- What is the intersection of taking up ones cross and dying to self?
- How do these empower us to answer the call of being a disciple of Jesus who disciples in love?
- Why and how does losing our life for Jesus actually save it?
- How have these verses spoken to you personally in this week?
- How are you blessed and challenged by accepting Jesus’ challenge?