10.01.31 Mk. 8:34-9:1 (See also Mt. 16:24-28; Lk. 9:23-27) Caesarea Philippi
BURDENS OF DISCIPLESHIP
34 Summoning the crowd along with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone wants to be My follower,
he must deny himself,
take up his cross,
and follow Me.
35 For whoever wants to save his life
will lose it,
but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel
will save it.
36 For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world
yet lose his life?
37 What can a man give in exchange
for his life?
38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words
in this adulterous and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him
when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
1 Then He said to them, “I assure you: There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.”
“Deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Jesus now discussed the cost of discipleship. The Jews had seen many of their fellow countrymen crucified along the seven roads leading into Jerusalem. The phrase was a figure of speech that was known all too well. Often the executioner would have the victim or criminal carry the crossbeam to the tree or post to which the condemned person would be secured and die an agonizing death. Jesus clearly stated that being one of His followers would not be easy, and whoever would follow in His teaching and lifestyle should be willing to die.
Jesus taught that while salvation is free, the Christian life would have a cost and commitment. He made essentially three points.
- His disciples had to deny themselves of their personal rights and liberties and commit themselves to His way of life.
- His disciples would have to take up the proverbial cross, meaning they were expected to pass the test of obedience during both the affluent and persecution times.
- Finally, to follow Him meant that they were expected to work in the Kingdom of God in whatever ministry or occupation they were called. Just as Jesus would suffer and die a martyr’s death, so would all of the disciples (John and Judas were the exceptions).
“Whoever loses his life for me.” This statement was given the greatest emphasis by Jesus. The disciples, after they eventually became the apostles, followed this teaching carefully to their deaths.
“Will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.” There are two interpretations concerning this passage.
- This phrase is in reference to the disciples seeing Jesus return in His full glory and splendor, but it was a reference to the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell on the believers.
- Others believe this passage has direct reference to the transfiguration that followed immediately after this account.
. Kloner and Zissu. The Necropolis of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. 22-23.