Matthew 16:13-28

Following Jesus requires that I quit following myself. But we must not confuse mere self-denial with following Jesus. Self-denial can easily become a substitute for following Jesus. We are called to deny self and follow Jesus. Whoever would be His disciple can do so only by surrendering completely to His will. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

How ironic that we humans can strive so hard to attain personal purpose and fulfillment while avoiding the very path that would lead us to that goal. We don’t want to waste our lives on purposeless emptiness, yet we tend to flinch from applying the only principle that will most assuredly make our lives worthwhile. Anyone wishing to make his life worthwhile will achieve that goal only by giving up his life for Jesus and His work. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).

Denying ourselves and taking up our cross can seem like such a waste of life, potential, and opportunity. Sometimes it seems more like a loss. And in such cases we may find ourselves yielding to the desire to prevent such a loss by opting to indulge our selves.

The only way to make the most of life and its potential and opportunity is to follow Jesus. He will give us an abundant life. But He will do so only if we deny ourselves and take up our cross. In other words, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25).

Read the rest at Anabaptists: Confessing Jesus as Lord

Then the disciples understood (Matthew 17:13)

Christ’s lordship. Our discipleship. Got that?

“Thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (23).

I stand guilty of the same charge. Daily I need a redirected, refined focus upward.

By the way, savourest is the same word translated do mind in Romans 8:5, understood in 1 Corinthians 13:11, and affection in Colossians 3:2.

Read the rest: What Am I Not Getting?

And here’s part of another piece I wrote at Panting Hart:

“…The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

God intends the Church to be triumphant! But not merely in a defensive way (“We held off another attack from the enemy.”) but also in a take-the-initiative way (“We took the battle to the enemy and won!”).

Read the rest: Confessing Jesus as Lord

What questions or comments or suggestions do you have for this passage? Post them as comments below.

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Above all, love God!