Summary: By dying to things of this world, we live in His presence in this present world.
BY DYING WE LIVE
The law of self-finding by self-losing is made clean in the life of Jesus. It is a principle that involves the whole human experience. Jesus stated in the gospel of Luke chapter nine and verses twenty-four and twenty-five. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
This soul-transforming truth is a part of the gospel that was preached from the lips of the Savoir, that by losing [or dying] He lives. And because He lives, we too can have life, if we choose to die.
You see, He not only saved His own life by losing it, but by His death Jesus purchased life for the entire human race. By coming down to our level, He made it possible for us to come to His level.
It is a profound law of losing life to find it. The grain of wheat that is placed in the ground must first die before it can be productive.
When Jesus said to His disciples “If a man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” It was spoken just before His death, resurrection, and the ascension.
The disciples of Jesus were disruptive and divisive. Their hearts were disturbed by rivalry and jealousy. They were focused on the here and now. They were His disciples, and had given up much to follow Him. They had given their homes, families and their fishing nets and places of business. They had given up everything, except THEMSELVES. They were saving their own lives, or at least trying to do so.
And it was in this solemn occasion when Jesus asked his disciples in the book of Matthew, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” The customary answers were given. “John the Baptist, Elijah or some other prophet rose from the dead.” He said unto them, “But who say ye that I am?” Peter’s confession was, you are the Christ, the son of the living God. And in that climactic hour Peter and the other disciples grasped this tremendous revelation. This is the Messiah; He is Immanuel, and the Word becoming flesh, the long awaited redeemer, our Savior.
Jesus said unto Peter, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed this to you, but my Father which is in heaven. And upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Peter had received revelation knowledge; this is what the world needs today.
After the reality of His Messiah ship dawned upon them, Our Lord wanted them to come over to the self losing attitude. He spoke of rejection, of the cross, of death, He called them to deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow Him.
A cross! Suffering! Death! They were completely bewildered. They were concerned about a crown, a kingdom and who would sit next to Jesus. Jesus proceeds to awake them out of their stunned and selfish condition. He tells them bluntly that they must lose themselves if they expected to find life.
I believe it was then, that the miracle occurred in their lives. God’s face appears, His love was released and strength was poured out. Sometimes truth that is so practical and yet so sublime, is slow to penetrate our heads, much less our hearts.
After they received this revelation, Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the mountain that He might present to them the principle of self losing as a prerequisite to self finding. And Jesus leaves them there, as He goes little farther to pray.
“And as he prayed, the appearance of his countenance was altered and his raiment was white and glistening. And, behold, there talked with Him two men, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory, and spoke to Him about death, that He should accomplish at Jerusalem.
Jesus was made aware that death was not far away, it was for this cause that He came unto the world, to be crucified and bear the sin of the whole world. He knew He would do battle with Satan in the heart of the earth, there taking the keys of death, hell and the grave. He was to strip Satan of the authority he had stolen from Adam in the Garden of Eden.
But Peter, and they that were with him, were heavy with sleep; and when they awoke, they saw His glory, and the two men that stood with Him….They said, “Let us make three tabernacles.”
They desired the mountain top experience apart from the cross experience. They wanted life without death, to save their life without losing it. The lesson Jesus wanted to give them was if they were to gain, then they must lose. They were selfish, self-centered, they wanted the presence of Jesus, Moses and Elijah all to themselves.