World English Bible translation
8:34 He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, "Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 8:36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? 8:37 For what should a man give in exchange for his life? 8:38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
9:1He said to them, "Most assuredly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death, until they see the Kingdom of God come with power."
Today's Scripture is one of the most powerful statements attributed to Jesus in recorded Scripture. Yesterday we read about Peter's confession of Jesus as the Christ. After that confession, Jesus spoke to the disciples frankly about what would happen to Him. He told them that He would have to suffer at the hands of the religious leaders. They would kill Him and He would rise again. Now Jesus also begins a new, more forceful message with the multitude as well.
Jesus goes before the entire multitude now with His disciples and He tells the crowd that if person wants to follow Him they must first deny themselves and take up his cross. God wants to give each person a completely new existence based on the life of Jesus Christ. But, to accomplish this, we must first give up all claims on our former life. We must deny ourselves and accept Christ as Savior. "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." Christ offers us a trade. He will give us a completely new life that is based on the overflowing lavishness of God. The only condition is that we have to completely give up our old life of sin and self.
We can maintain control of our lives and continue to do what we want to do. But, if we choose to do this, we will lose our lives in the end. We will face eternal judgment. Or, we can give all of that up and accept the new life in Christ. We can allow Him to be Lord by picking up His cross and following Him. If we accomplish everything we could ever hope to accomplish in this life and then lose it all in death, we have accomplished nothing. But, if we choose Christ, then even after death we have gained everything.
That is the offer that Christ makes to us. If we are ashamed of Christ in this world, He will not claim us in the next. But, if we embrace Christ as redeemer and friend, all of the glories of God are ours. He even told them that some of the people who were there would not die before they would see the Kingdom of God come with power. The disciples saw the Kingdom of God with power in the Resurrection and Pentecost. Peter, James and John saw the Kingdom come in power on the Mount of Transfiguration. And each Christian experiences the power of the Kingdom of God when Christ comes into their life like a tidal wave of power, washing over us at conversion.
Let go of your little life! There is nothing that you can hold onto that is worth not sacrificing it all to Christ. There is nothing so dear in this world that is worth missing eternity with God. Deny yourself. Pick up the cross of Christ. Follow Him.
Is there anything that you have that can compare with eternal life? Is there anything that you would not give to stand before God totally accepted and totally loved? Is there any little thing that you have that is worth missing the blessing of God?
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