Summary: Be willing to make sacrifices so that the will of God can be accomplished through your life. We are called to carry our own cross and to renew such a commitment every day.
Crosses are everywhere these days. You see them on buildings, stationery, jewelry shops…
• You noticed now that crosses seem to be a chief feature of punk style and the outfits of young celebrities, even rock band members.
• Crosses have become a standard fashion accessory.
Crosses didn’t have any religious meaning in Jesus’ time.
• A cross was an instrument of torture and death the Roman government used to keep people in line.
• Nothing worse could happen to you than being hung up on a cross and you would do anything to avoid it.
But Jesus was heading towards it. He told them plainly in 8:31-32.
• Not surprisingly, the disciples didn’t like what they were hearing.
• Peter, who represents you and me in the story, pulled Jesus aside and started rebuking him. “Why are you saying this? Have you lost your mind? We’ve got something good going here out in the countryside. Everything will be fine.”
• Peter was not only frightened by what Jesus was saying, he was worried.
• I think he loved Jesus and didn’t want him to die. And besides, if Jesus was in danger, they all were.
At this Jesus turned and looked at his disciples and then blasted Peter saying, "Get behind me, Satan!" And then He told his disciples what neither they nor we would like to hear:
8:34 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Jesus needed to correct the wrong thinking that Peter’s remarks revealed.
• If being a Christian is all a bed-of-roses; if we expect Christians to live longer, have lower blood pressure, have a great career; to have everything fine and good, then we may gotten a wrong picture of Christianity, or what Jesus’ mission really mean.
• Like Peter, following Jesus so far is all about having a good time! All game and no pain?
These words weren’t just meant for them, but you and me today.
• And Jesus said it with such a passion that suggests it was a non-negotiable — something we can’t avoid if we’re going to take Him seriously.
Jesus puts it straight – if we are serious with Him; if we are determined to follow Him, then we have to be prepared for some sacrifices.
• Jesus took up His cross, and we were told to take up ours.
• To be faithful to God in a world as troubled as this one, it will mean having to face up to some hardship and sacrifices.
Carrying the cross has nothing to do with carrying burdens or enduring suffering or pain.
• Or worst still, to copy what Jesus has done – to carry the cross and nail yourself to the it, like what some people in Philippines does every Good Friday.
• It has nothing to do with inflicting pain.
Later on in Mark 10, Jesus spoke to the Rich Young Ruler: 17 "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
• He claimed to have kept the commandments from his youth.
• Mark 10:21-22 (NKJV) 21Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." 22But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Jesus was talking about making sacrifices.
• The man wanted to follow Jesus and keep everything else the same.
• He wanted Jesus and not prepared to make any sacrifices.
Mark 8:34 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself…”
• It is making the choice to follow another person’s way rather than making our own way.
• The new generation is pragmatic and individualistic. People tend to be self-centered and self-righteous. They do not know how to deny themselves.
Jesus turned the tide around - he denied himself and renounced the heavenly glory, honor and power of His kingdom, and came down to be born in a stable of an animal and was laid in a manger.
• Jesus is the Son of God, yet he chose not to come down from the cross (even though people scorned him for not saving himself when he had saved others.)
• He stayed on the cross – to obey God’s will. That’s carrying the cross for Him!
• He denied himself and was crucified on the cross. And this is the attitude we must have!
I was preparing FPM when I saw this – Jesus’ prayer in John 17:1-5 (turn to it and read)
• We want to glorify God. Consider this – God was glorified when Jesus was hung upon the cross. When Jesus completed the work God has entrusted to Him, God was glorified.