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Luke 9:18-26

Sunday Morning Bible Study

November 1, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing his book, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

Jesus’ ministry is well under say, and the people have been amazed not just at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.

9:18-22 Who am I?

:18 And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”

:18 prayingproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

Present participle

:18 alonekatamonas (“according to” + “alone”) – apart, alone

:18 joinedsuneimi – to be with

Imperfect active indicative

:18 He askedeperotao – to accost one with an enquiry, put a question to, enquiry of, ask, interrogate; to address one with a request or demand; to ask of or demand of one

:18 the crowdsochlos – a crowd; a multitude; the common people, as opposed to the rulers and leading men

:18 Who do the crowds say that I am?

The scene starts out with Jesus praying by Himself when the disciples join Jesus.

That’s when He asks the question.

The disciples have been out in the villages and towns

(Luke 9:2 NKJV) He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
They will have an idea of what people are thinking about Jesus.

Matthew tells us this all happened near Caesarea Philippi (Mat. 16:13).

(Matthew 16:13 NKJV) When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

Video:  Bethsaida to Caesarea Philippi      

All these things are happening in the northern area of Galilee.  Bethsaida is near the Sea of Galilee, while Caesarea Philippi is about 23 miles north of Bethsaida.  Today, it is also known as Banias (because of the temple to the god “Pan”), and is at the base of Mount Hermon (that will play into next week).

:19 So they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.”

:19 risen againanistemi – to cause to rise up, raise up; raise up from laying down; to raise up from the dead

:19 oldarchaios – that has been from the beginning, original, primal, old ancient; of men, things, times, conditions

:19 John … Elijah … old prophets

This is what the people were saying when they talked about Jesus.

Back in Luke 9:7-8, Herod Antipas had been hearing these same things as well.

(Luke 9:7–8 NKJV) —7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him; and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again.
Some thought that Jesus was really John the Baptist come back from the dead.
Others thought that Jesus was Elijah, who was prophesied to come back before the coming of the Lord:
(Malachi 4:5 NKJV) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
Others thought Jesus might be one of the “old prophets”, meaning older than Elijah.  This was a term that was used by the Jews to refer to prophets like Samuel or David.

:20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”

:20 you say – the words are plural.  Jesus is speaking to the group of disciples, not just Peter

:20 the Christ of God

ChristChristos – anointed; Messiah

This is the Greek translation of the Old Testament Hebrew word “mashiyach” which also means “anointed” or “Messiah”.
The Hebrew word is used of priests and kings because they were anointed with oil when they started their jobs.
But Peter doesn’t say that Jesus was “a” messiah, he says that Jesus is “The Messiah”, the “Messiah of God”.
King David spoke prophetically about a coming king that would rule the nations.
(Psalm 2:7–8 NKJV) —7 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

David spoke of this king being the “Son” of God.

Isaiah wrote of this coming king –
(Isaiah 9:6 NKJV) For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Old Testament prophets told us many things about the coming Messiah including – that He would save Israel from their enemies (Is. 9:1-5), He would be filled with the Spirit of God (Is. 11:2-3), be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2), and His greatness would reach the ends of the world (Mic. 5:4-5).
The prophet Daniel (among others) spoke of the timing of the coming Messiah
(Daniel 9:25–26 NKJV) —25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

Matthew records how Jesus responded to what Peter said,

(Matthew 16:17 NKJV) Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Jesus acknowledged that what Peter was declaring was not only the truth, but that it was truth that had been revealed to Peter from God Himself.
Jesus is acknowledging that He is that Great King, the Messiah, and that He is the Son of God – deity.


What do you say?

It seems today that we get our sense of “truth” in all sorts of ways.
Some people hear rumors, and they become truth to them, especially if they hear it enough times.

Dr. Dobson tells of a study done at a University where a teacher supposedly was testing a group of students on their perception.  A group of students was shown two drawings of lines.  One line was definitely shorter than the other.  The group was asked to choose which line they thought was shorter than the other.  But in the study, everyone in the group was told ahead of time to pick the wrong line, all but one student.  When the teacher pointed to the longer line and asked who thought the line was shorter, everyone raised their hand except the one student who wasn’t “in the know”.  In almost every time they ran the experiment, the “unclued” student eventually went along with the rest of the crowd, even though they knew they were wrong.

I find that more and more people are getting their “truth” from social media.
Can I warn you that not every “news” story you read on the internet is true?
Learn to check the facts.  Learn to see if more than one “news” source verifies what you are reading.
Before you post a news story on Facebook, remember that some people are going to take what you post to be true, even if it isn’t.
People will say all kinds of things about Jesus without ever checking the facts.
Some people will say that Jesus was just a good man and never claimed to be God.
Others will say that Jesus was just a moral teacher – He taught people to live better lives.
Others will say that Jesus never even existed.
Make sure you check the facts.
Jesus performed amazing miracles like feeding five thousand, healing a man born blind, or raising Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus also claimed to be God.
C. S. Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic, on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool; you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or, you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.
But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Who do you say Jesus is?

:21 And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one,

:22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”

:21 strictly warnedepitimao – to show honor to, to honor; to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely; to admonish or charge sharply

:21 commandedparaggello – to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce; to command, order, charge

:21 commanded them to tell this to no one

Why didn’t Jesus want the disciples to tell people that Jesus was the Messiah, even when He was?

The context tells us that it had to do with His suffering and death.
Perhaps Jesus didn’t want everyone knowing what was in God’s plan that He MUST do – to suffer and die for us.

Peter wouldn’t like the idea of Jesus dying.

The people that followed Jesus wouldn’t want Him dying either.

They might do something stupid and step in and keep Him from dying for our sins.

:22 Son of Man

This too is another name for the Old Testament Messiah (Dan. 7:13-14)

(Daniel 7:13–14 NKJV) —13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

:22 the Son of Man must suffer many things

mustdei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper

sufferpascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

The Old Testament prophets spoke of this as well.

(Isaiah 53:5 NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
(Psalm 22:16 NKJV) For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;
(Zechariah 12:10 NKJV) —10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

It was necessary for Him to suffer not just to fulfill the prophecies, but because His suffering served a purpose.

His suffering and death were to be the sacrifice that would pay for the sins of the world.

:22 be rejected by the elders

be rejectedapodokimazo (“away from” + “test or prove”) – to disapprove, reject, repudiate; from the word dokimazo – to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals; to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

elders – probably the Sanhedrin

chief priests – the leaders of the Judaism as a religion

scribes – those who are experts in the Scriptures

The Psalmist wrote,

(Psalm 118:22 NKJV) The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.
The leaders of Israel would put reject the One that God would build His kingdom on.

Some of you know the pain of rejection by those you love, and you wonder if anyone understands.  Jesus does.

(Isaiah 53:3 NKJV) He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

:22 be killed and be raised the third day

be killedapokteino – to kill in any way whatever

be raisedegeiro – to arouse, cause to rise; to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life

(Psalm 22:15 NKJV) My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.

(Psalm 16:10 NKJV) For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

There were allusions to a third day resurrection in several Old Testament stories, including the story of Jonah.

When Abraham took his only son Isaac to Mount Moriah to be sacrificed, it was a three-day journey to get to the place of death and resurrection.
(Genesis 22:4 NKJV) Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.
Jonah was swallowed by a huge fish, and was in the belly of the fish for three days. (Jon. 1:17)
(Jonah 1:17 NKJV) Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jesus tied the story to His death and resurrection:

(Matthew 12:40 NKJV) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

:22 The Son of Man must suffer … killed … raised

Jesus is going to tell His disciples several times about His death and resurrection before it happens.

Don’t get the idea that the disciples even had a clue what He was talking about.  Later on, in this same chapter, Jesus will repeat Himself on this subject, and notice how the disciples respond then:
(Luke 9:44–45 NKJV) —44 “Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.

Take heart if you feel like you’re a little “clueless” sometimes when it comes to the plans of God.  You’re not alone.  Even the disciples were often “clueless”.

9:23-26 Discipleship

:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

We will come back to this verse at the end, it’s what the entire passage is built on.

:24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

:24 whoever desires to save his life will lose it

Jesus is clarifying what it means to deny yourself and follow Him.

If you choose to live your life by seeking to make your life easier, you will lose your life on that day that you stand before God’s Great White Throne of judgment.

If you choose to not live for yourself, but to live for Jesus, you will be saved.

For – this further clarifies what Jesus has just said.

:24 desiresthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

Just as in verse 23, “If any man will come after me …”

:24 lifepsuche – breath; the breath of life; a living being, a living soul; the soul

:24 savesozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

:24 will loseapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to kill; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed; to lose.  Future indicative.

:24 loses – Aorist active subjunctive.

:24 sakeheneka – on account of, for the sake of, for

:24 will save – Future indicative

A fuller translation:  “For whosoever has a desire to save his soul will in the future actually lose it; but whosoever should possibly lose his life for the sake of me, the same will in the future actually save it.”



Yet in reality, this verse is not mainly about salvation.  Jesus isn’t saying that unless you die for the gospel you can’t be saved.  He’s talking mainly about being a disciple, being one who follows Jesus.  This verse is all about being useful to the Lord.
When you get to the point that you choose to place the act of serving the Lord as more valuable than your own life, even more valuable than your own comfort, then you will see God do some amazing things.
What if your life is ruined?  What if terrible tragedy threatens to undo you?
I tend to want to draw back and stop serving the Lord.  I want to quit when times get hard.  I like serving the Lord, as long as it’s comfortable.

But the question comes, what do I hold valuable?  My life?  My comfort?  My reputation?  Or Jesus?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Dan. 3)

These three young men were ordered to bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, along with the rest of the world.  If they chose to disobey, they were going to be thrown into a fiery furnace.  They responded:

(Dan 3:17-18 KJV)  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. {18} But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

So what happened?  Did life turn all rosy for them?  No.  They were thrown into the fiery furnace.  Yet they were not alone in the fire.  Jesus was with them.

When you have an attitude like this, what can anyone do to you?  What can life do to you?


Towards the end of Paul’s third journey, he began to receive prophetic warnings in each church that he would be arrested in Jerusalem.  Over and over again he was told that tough times were ahead.  Paul’s response:

(Acts 20:24 KJV)  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul went ahead to Jerusalem, and he was arrested.  He was put in prison.  He was left in prison for a couple of years in Caesarea, until he made his appeal and he was sent to Rome.  He sat in prison in Rome.

Yet when he was in prison in Rome, he wrote the letters of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, 1&2 Timothy, and Titus.

Paul wrote during this time to the Philippians:

(Phil 1:12-14 NLT)  And I want you to know, dear friends, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. {13} For everyone here, including all the soldiers in the palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. {14} And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ.

Even in prison, Paul could see God’s purposes being worked out.  He saw his suffering as worth it.

Usefulness comes when you are able to give up your own wishes, comforts, desires, and serve the Lord.
If I surrender my desires, does this mean that God is going to send me to India to help reach the villages where the gospel has never gone?  Perhaps.
But you’ll probably find that God will start by seeing if you’re willing to teach Sunday School.

:25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?

:25 profitopheleo – to assist, to be useful or advantageous, to profit

:25 if he gainskerdaino – to gain, acquire, to get gain

Aorist participle

:25 worldkosmos – an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government; the world, the universe; world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly; the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

:25 wholeholos – all, whole, completely

:25 destroyedapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to kill; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed; to lose.

:25 lostzemioo – to affect with damage, do damage to; to sustain damage, to receive injury, suffer loss

:25 if he gains the whole world

A person who lives solely for their own gain in life will one day be lost before God’s Throne.


Correct Currency

Sometimes we value the wrong things.
(1 John 2:15–17 NKJV) —15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

When Jesus talked about gaining the whole world, He is talking about the things in this world that lead us away from God.

John defined these things as lust and pride.

Jesus said,
(Matthew 6:19–21 NKJV) —19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
There’s a new currency when we get to heaven.
The things that we tend to treasure on earth, dollars and cents, are worthless in the economy of heaven.


Imagine arriving in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, and they don’t accept your money.  You might be a wealthy person in America, but if that foreign country won’t accept American dollars, and you can’t get them exchanged, what good does it do you?

Heaven does not run on American dollars.

The new currency is based on love:

(1 Corinthians 13:1–3 NKJV) —1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

The love that Paul is talking about is not gushy romantic love. 

He’s talking about God’s kind of love…

(1 Corinthians 13:4–7 NKJV) —4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

:26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.

:26 ashamedepaischunomai (“upon” + “to disfigure, make ashamed”) – to be ashamed. 

The first occurrence is an aorist subjunctive, the second occurrence is a future indicative. 

Whosoever should possibly be ashamed of me … of him the Son of man shall in the future shall actually be ashamed

:26 wordslogos – word

:26 the Son of Man … when He comes

The allusion is back to Daniel’s description of the Son of Man.

(Daniel 7:13–14 NKJV) —13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

:26 whoever is ashamed of Me and My words

Jesus said,

(Matthew 10:32–33 NKJV) —32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
Again, this is before heaven as our witness.

We live in a day and age that loves to laugh at people who believe in the Bible.

Yet it is our most powerful tool.
(Hebrews 4:12 NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(2 Timothy 3:16–17 NKJV) —16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Suppose you are at your local bank when a man walks in with a mask on and a gun, walks up to a teller, sticks the gun into the tellers face, and demands that the teller give him all their money.
Then suppose the teller refuses because he says to the bank robber that he doesn’t believe in guns.
When the robber pulls the trigger, will that affect how the bullet will act as it comes out of the gun?
God’s word is powerful.  Don’t be ashamed to say, “The Bible says…”

Let’s go back to the key verse…

:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

:23 If anyone desires to come after Me

desiresthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

Present active indicative
This is for those who have a desire, have a heart, who want to follow Jesus.
If you want to follow Jesus, you’re going to find Him leading you

to come after Me

erchomai – to come; to go, to follow one
opiso – back, behind, after, afterwards

Peter acknowledged that Jesus was the “Christ of God”.

If you find that thought attractive, and you are curious about getting closer to the Messiah, then this is what you need to do.
Jesus gives three commands that are to be followed if you have a desire to follow Him.
This is what it means to be a Christian.

:23 let him deny himself

deny himselfaparneomai (“away from” + “deny”) – to deny; to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone; to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests

Aorist deponent imperative



I’m not sure we really understand self-denial in America.
Video:  Man V Food – Deep Fried Twinkie (starts at 5:30)
Just like deep fried foods – if you eat too much stuff of this world’s lusts, you are going to do damage to your heart.
I have to admit that some of American Christianity has missed this.
We are more concerned about self-fulfillment than we do self-denial.
We are more concerned about our happiness than we are holiness.
We would rather feed our bellies than feed the poor.
Jesus said that following Him starts with denying self.
Worried about your needs not being met? Don't be. Jesus said if you lose your life for His sake, you will find it.
Paul wrote,
(Philippians 2:5–8 NLT) —5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

:23 take up his cross daily

take upairo – to raise up, elevate, lift up; to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to bear

Aorist active imperative

crossstauros – a cross; a well-known instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the Phoenicians; to it were affixed among the Romans, down to the time of Constantine the Great, the guiltiest criminals, particularly the basest slaves, robbers, the authors and abetters of insurrections, and occasionally in the provinces, at the arbitrary pleasure of the governors, upright and peaceable men also, and even Roman citizens themselves

We don’t usually think of the cross in the proper way.  We think of it as some kind of symbol, something that people wear as jewelry around their neck.

daily – “according to the day”.


My Daily Cross

We sometimes forget what a “cross” was all about.  We tend to think in terms of Christian jewelry, or the cross on top of a steeple.
But the cross was one of the cruelest forms of punishment in history.
Billy Graham wrote,

When Jesus said, “if you are going to follow me, you have to take up a cross,” it was the same as saying, “Come and bring your electric chair with you.  Take up the gas chamber and follow me.”  He did not have a beautiful gold cross in mind—the cross on a church steeple or on the front of your Bible.  Jesus had in mind a place of execution.

-- Billy Graham in "The Offense of the Cross" (from Great Sermons on Christ, Wilbur M. Smith, ed.).  Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 12.

From time to time I hear some preachers say that we need to get beyond the cross and learn to live in the resurrection power of Jesus.
There is no choice here.  It’s not either/or.  It’s both.
What does it mean to “take up our cross daily?
Warren Wiersbe writes, “This means to be identified with Him in surrender, suffering, and sacrifice.”

The cross was what Jesus had to endure in His submission to the Father.  It’s what He did in fulfilling God’s will for us.

It involved shame and suffering.

There are going to be times when our walk with the Lord is going to take us into a place where life will no longer be comfortable.
It might bring ridicule, shame, and loss to you.
But you endure it because God has called you to do something for Him.
Peter’s death
Church tradition tell us that Peter was executed in Rome.  From Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

…Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered and said, “I am come again to be crucified.” By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.

If following the Lord meant suffering, Peter was willing to do it.
I can’t tell you exactly what it will mean in your life.
It doesn’t mean that you go out looking to be crucified.
But when you face a clear choice of following Jesus or your own comfort, you choose to follow Jesus.

:23 and follow Me

followakoloutheo – to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him; to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple; side with his party

Present active imperative


Follow Jesus

Find His footsteps
Years ago there was a book written titled, “In His Steps” where a little town was challenged by a pastor to learn to ask themselves the question, “What Would Jesus Do?”.  The book followed the lives of several people as they learned to ask this question as they went about their daily lives.  The book was based on what Peter wrote,

(1 Peter 2:21 NKJV) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

That’s a good question to learn to ask yourself.  To make sure you answer that question correctly each time, make sure you read your Bible and take time to learn about how Jesus lived so you can find His footsteps.

Like what He likes

I had walked life's way with an easy tread,

I had traveled where pleasures and comfort lead

Until one day in a quiet place,

I met the Master face to face.


With station and rank and wealth for my goal,

Much thought for my body but none for my soul,

I'd entered to win this life's mad race,

When I met the Master face to face.


I built my towers and reared them high,

'Til they had pierced the blue of the sky. 

I'd sworn to rule with an iron mace,

When I met my Master face to face.


I met Him and knew Him and blushed to see,

That His eyes, full of sorrow, were fixed upon me. 

I faltered and fell at his feet that day,

While my castles melted and vanished away.


Melted and vanished and in their place,

Nothing else could I see but the Master's face. 

My thoughts are now for the souls of men,

I had lost my life to find it again.


Since that day in a quite place,

When I met the Master face to face.

-- Insight for Living 7/30/90

Follow His lead
Learning to follow requires that Jesus be leading you.
It doesn’t mean that you set out on your own path and ask God to bless what you’re doing.
It means that you yearn to find where Jesus is at, and you follow after Him.
It means that as “Lord”, He has the authority to tell you what to do, where to go, and who to go with.
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp'd my wild career:
I saw One hanging on a Tree
In agonies and blood,
Who fix'd His languid eyes on me.
As near His Cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look:                                                                                                                      
It seem'd to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke:
My conscience felt and own'd the guilt,
And plunged me in despair:
I saw my sins His Blood had spilt,
And help'd to nail Him there.
Alas! I knew not what I did!
But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain!
A second look He gave, which said,
"I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou may'st live."
Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief, and mournful joy,
My spirit now if fill'd,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I kill'd!

John Newton, 1725-1807