Mat. 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mk. 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Lk. 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Notice that this scripture is repeated in all three gospels in almost exactly the same manner. I would suppose the Bible has a very good reason for repeating these words in all three gospels. In this post let us key in on the words “any man” and “whosoever”. Both words mean the same thing.
In the world there is the Who’s Who. The world is compartmentalized into the known and the unknown. The great majority of people are the unknown. But there are people who it appears as if they are they who make the world to turn on its axis. These are the really important people of this world. They are the people whom the world knows of and acknowledges. Some are extremely rich, others are incredibly famous. Everyone knows who they are.
In church also, we compartmentalize people. We have, for example, ministers (very important) and non-ministers; we have the pastor (also important), and his members. We have men and women; we have the elderly and the young, etc. etc. We sometimes even differentiate between the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlearned.
There are even people who have specialized in ministering to these individual groups. We hear of men’s seminars, etc.
But notice Jesus did not say any of those things. He did not acknowledge any of those groupings. He said simply,
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
In other words, the person whom Jesus will recognize and acknowledge is anyone – anyone – man, woman, young, old, rich, poor, learned or unlearned – anyone who…?
Anyone who will deny themselves, takes up their cross and follow Christ. It is not the minister, the apostle, the prophet, the pastor or the worship leader. These may have important jobs in the Spirit, but that is not what Christ is looking for. The truly important person in the eyes of Jesus is the person, man or woman, who is daily dying to self (1 Cor. 15:31).
We do many things to befriend Jesus. But we probably are not doing the single important thing that the Lord requires of us which, if only we would do it, everything else that we did would fall into proper perspective.
Our walk in the Spirit has everything to do with putting off the old man of the flesh and putting on the new man who has been created in the image of Christ. You cannot talk of the gospel of Jesus Christ in any other context. Unfortunately, this is also the singular thing that many believers try to skirt around. They cannot take the offence of the cross.
But the narrow road of the cross is the singular thing that we will have to open our hearts to if we want to be acknowledged by the Lord Jesus. It is the biggest responsibility that He has given to us. We cannot run and do anything else instead.
Many people see a preacher, prophet or pastor and they think, “Wow!” But a minister’s position is tenable in the Spirit to the extent that he is willing to die to self, take up his cross and follow Christ. As a preacher, you could preach the entire world into heaven and go to hell yourself. Why? Because you embraced your carnal nature, and not the cross of Christ.
Again, need we wonder why the Apostle Paul, after receiving the revelation of the cross would preach no other gospel “save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2)?
I write this post with a prayer, that the reader’s eyes might be opened to see into the Spirit, to see the way of the cross.
[Below: May this song bless you today]