“Don’t Save Your Life”

About two years into His earthly ministry, Jesus began to speak clearly about His upcoming suffering, death and resurrection (Mat 16:21-23). We read in Matthew 16:21, “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” It is in this context that Jesus also told them, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
The cross meant death. Bible commentator, F.F. Bruce wrote, “A man who was about to be executed by crucifixion was made to take up his own cross, the very cross to which he would be nailed. The sight of a criminal carrying the cross beam (patibulum) to the place of execution was not an unfamiliar sight to those living in Jerusalem.” Jesus went on to explain what He meant by “taking up one’s cross and following Him.” “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). However, Jesus did not mean that every Christian will suffer a martyr’s death, but certainly that every Christian must be prepared and willing to suffer even up to death for His sake. The Christian life is one of suffering and sacrifice. It is one lived for the glory of God and the good of others.