Summary: Shows what Jesus expects of us as disciples
OUR CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP
A. After Jesus has rebuked Peter for being consumed with the things of this world and not concerned about the things of God, Jesus issued one of the declarations about His pending death. He knew He was going to pay with the cost of His life for the sins of men.
B. It is under this context that Mark 8:34-38 is given: "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38, NIV)
This passage is summary text to understand what Jesus has called us to as His disciples.
I. COME TO JESUS
A. First of all we are called to come to Jesus. Jesus is both the object and the means we come to.
B. But what does it mean to come to Jesus?
1. To come to Jesus means that we come to His Person.
a. We identify ourselves with the character of Jesus. He told Peter to get behind Him because he had in mind the things of the world (8:33)
b. We reflect in life the same concerns that He had. Jesus had in mind to the things of God (8:33)
2. To come to Jesus means that we come to the work of Jesus.
a. We identify with what Jesus did. Jesus was headed to the cross and He knew it (8:31)
b. We bring to the world the Good News of Jesus and care for them as Jesus cared.
II. COUNT THE COST
A. Second, there is a cost that we need to take into consideration.
B. Jesus’ obedience to the Father cost Him His life.
1. Before He was born, His name reflected the mission he had come into the world for. His name “Jesus” reflected that “He will save His people from their sin” (Matthew 1:21).
2. At the age of 8-days His mother was told prophetically: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34-35, NIV)
3. The Garden of Gethsemane reveals His struggle.
a. He prayed three times: “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” (Matthew 26:29a, NIV). It was not easy for Him.
b. And yet He said: “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”" (Matthew 26:39b, NIV).
c. Being God and Man at the same time, He knew what that meant. He was aware of the cost He had to pay.
C. So the same thing is asked of us today.
1. Jesus calls to “deny” ourselves. It is a call that doesn’t come at a cheap price.
2. On another occasion Jesus asked: "“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace." (Luke 14:28-32, NIV).
III. CARRY THE CROSS
A. When Jesus called to carry the cross, He was calling to a reality that He Himself was going to experience.
1. The cross was a shameful and denigrating death. Cross pictured a humiliating and painful suffering in the minds of the disciples.
2. The Romans practiced crucifixion only for the worst of criminals and only those who were not citizens of Rome.
3. It was a slow painful death. Jesus was going to experience that death soon.