A concise exposition on chapter 16 and verse 24 of the Gospel of Mathew…
In one verse, Jesus defines for the church the very principles of Christian life. A verse of scripture that appears obsolete, and may have lost value and significance in a Christian community hosted by a generation that only acknowledges the provisions, promises and blessings of the Christian faith, but denying the corresponding responsibilities, obligations and sacrifices.
Mathew 16: 24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (KJV)
In this discourse, Jesus intended to show Peter and the rest of His disciples the nature of His kingdom; the honour and glory that comes from the world was not to be sort after or anticipated by those who followed Christ. From the clauses in Jesus statements, four major principles of Christian living are derived.
The principles of the Christian life are:-
[If any man will come after me] – The follower of Christ must have a sincere desire to belong to Christ and to follow Him, such desire that is of his freewill, stemming from a firm and personal conviction, not imposed. Paraphrased; “if any man be WILLING to be my disciple.”
[Let him deny himself] – The follower of Jesus Christ must be ready to renounce ‘self-dependence’, and ‘selfish pursuits’. He must be ready to live in self-denial (setting-aside his own desires, wishes, interests, and needs) and selflessness (placing the desires, wishes, interests, and needs of Jesus before his). The Greek word ‘ap-ar-neh’-om-ahee’translated as “let him deny” means ‘to disown and abstain utterly’. The implication is that Christ follower must be ready to deny, or renounce, himself fully-in all respects- perseveringly. Herein lays the test of true discipleship… herein lies the test of true maturity! This philosophy apparently opposes the recent trend of sermons that are inspired with a motive to gratify ‘self’. While the infant is yet muffled up by his own needs, the adult concerns himself with the Master’s needs.
[And take up his cross] – The follower of Jesus Christ must be willing to embrace the condition which God has appointed per time; he must be ready to ‘cheerfully’ bear any trouble and difficulty he may encounter in his walk with Christ. Jesus never promised a journey free of troubles; He however encourages us to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world together with all the troubles therein.
[And follow me] – The follower of Jesus Christ must be willing to imitate Him in character and virtues. The follower of Jesus must be willing to accept a definite designation in life, JESUS CHRIST!
May the Lord help us all…
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
A Time to Think
A Time to Act
Ask God to stay with you in difficult situations. Affirm that He is helping you now.
A Time to Pray
Heavenly Father, open my heart and clear my vision so that I may follow Your path.
Worried? Need Prayer?