Continuing their journey, the midday heat has dissipated and the cool of the desert evening is beginning to surround them. He and His disciples approach a large crowd holding torches to light the quickly advancing darkness. A donkey brays somewhere in the distance and the birds chirping begins to quiet as the desert settles for the night
He invites the crowd to come closer along with His disciples as He prepares to teach.
The crowd is stunned by His words. His disciples, well, can you hear their thoughts? Deny ourselves…take up our cross…saving our life means losing it…losing our life means saving it? This is not opposite day or is it? The disciples have heard Jesus teach many things but this has them scratching their heads.
- Deny is the Greek word aparneomai and means to utterly refuse to recognize the original source involved (Biblehub.com).
- Cross is the Greek word stauros and represents unspeakable pain, humiliation and suffering – and ironically is also the symbol of infinite love! At the cross, Jesus won our salvation – which is free but certainly not cheap! (Biblehub.com).
Be encouraged! The Cross is not a symbol for suffering in general. It represents the trials, challenges and hardships we experience in life and are able to endure because of the power of Holy Spirit in us.
- Lose is the Greek word apollumi meaning to be lost or utterly perish.
- Save (my favorite of today’s words) is the Greek word sózó meaning to heal, preserve, rescue. Rescued from the former version of ourself and delivered into divine safety.
This is all fine and dandy but what does this actually look like for us? When we deny ourselves we are refusing to recognize the version of ourself prior to Jesus. This reminds me of Lot’s wife that turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back. I am not suggesting that we will turn into a pillar of salt for looking back at our former self, in fact, many of us are still working through area’s of our life that have to do with who we use to be, reconciling those area’s and receiving God’s abundant healing. Once we have both feet on the ground and can move forward, then, looking back is useless. I pray the power of Holy Spirit in you to see you successfully through any healing He is doing in you from your past. You’ve got this!
The Cross, oh the blessed Cross. Thank you Jesus for the Cross. Because of His death on the Cross you and I don’t have to endure that torture. We don’t have to live apart from the light and love of God. We don’t have to continue in sin because we have been set free! However, we all have, will and will continue to have struggles, trials, hardship, muck and yuck in our life this side of heaven.
Because of Jesus we aren’t lost and won’t utterly perish. We are rescued, healed and preserved by Him. We are saved.
Denying ourself for the sake of the gospel is the least we can do for what He did for us. With His help explore the area’s of the old version of yourself and ask Him what needs to go. Ask Him to help you let go. Ask Him for His help to endure the cross you are bearing. He is faithful to always help.
Jesus invited the crowd to come closer. He invites you too.
If you don’t have a Bible but would like one please email me by clicking on the contact me button at the top of the page or if you’re viewing from a mobile device click on the menu button in the upper right.