23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
The words Jesus spoke in this setting (vv.23-27) must be understood in their historical context. Not long before Jesus said these words the disciples had been actively engaged in telling the nation about the Messiah and His kingdom. No doubt many thought the disciples were throwing their lives away. They had given up their sources of income and were in danger because they associated themselves with Jesus. Jesus assured His disciples that they were doing the right thing. They had chosen the proper values (9:24–25). People were to respond in faith and identify with the kingdom of God (v. 4). Those who did not identify with the kingdom of heaven would be rejected (v. 5).
Similarly, for us here in Shanghai, there will be daily moments that we will have to deny ourselves certain things for the sake of Jesus as we are following him. Whether it is decisions we have to make, saying no to certain things or being obedient to God’s Word regardless if we feel like it. May we be encouraged by the knowledge that Jesus is by far the most precious treasure we could ever have, much more than a temporarily fleshly desire.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Pray for specific people you know; neighbors, friends or those you see when you walk. Or, pray for opportunities to get to know your neighbors better.