Cross bearing, according to Jesus, is a radical obedience to His teaching

The Loser’s Plan
Die to Self – Part 1

Scripture Reading:  Mark 8:31-38

Key Verse: Mark 8:35

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

When Jesus told His followers to take up their cross and follow Him, they had a clear picture in their minds.  When the Roman general, named Varus, had broken a revolt that the Jewish people had mounted, he crucified two thousand Jews.  Then to make sure they got the message, he placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee.  Yes, when Jesus mentioned the cross, these people of Galilee listened very closely.

            The loser’s plan, as Jesus laid it out, included self-sacrifice.  I’ve been using the TV show, “The Biggest Loser,” as a visual icon for this series.  These contestants truly do a lot of sacrificing if they want to win.  Christ followers want to win the prize as well.  The Apostle Paul said it clearly, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24).  The very real question to all those contemplating following Jesus is: Are you willing to sacrifice personal comforts when called upon to do so?

            Taking up our cross is not referring to enduring personal problems or difficulties of life.  Rather, this cross bearing Jesus is referring to is a radical obedience to His teaching and lifestyle.  Does your faith in eternal rewards give you the determination that nothing in this world will be allowed to be more valuable than God’s rewards?

Father, I will take up my cross today.  I will need your divine strength and courage each step of the way.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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