“Bear the Cross by Self Denial”

Matthew 16:21-28

It was bad enough for the disciples to hear that Jesus would suffer, be rejected, and die on a cross.
Now Jesus told them that they must do the same thing. The cross was an instrument of death it had no other purpose.

Cross bearing does not refer to some irritation in life. Rather, it involves death. One way of bearing the cross is by denying self,”Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves …'” (v. 24.)

Is it possible that this one thing is what causes disagreements, hurt feelings, and broken relationships? If we could deny ourselves we probably wouldn’t get mad at someone at our jobs, if we could deny ourselves we probably would not get upset with our children and spouses, if we could deny ourselves we probably wouldn’t have such
bitterness and unforgiveness towards others.

Bearing the cross means it is not about me but it’s all about the other. Others come first. The needs of others are paramount. “Me” no longer is the center but others are the center. This is the Jesus way, “not my will but thine be done.” Philippians 2:1-5 consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Jesus made Himself nothing, and became obedient to death.

Bearing the cross is to die – the apostle Paul acknowledged this necessity: “I die every day,” Every day
– a death – a denial. German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his classic, The Cost of Discipleship wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die,”Bearing the cross is denying it’s a journey to death;
it’s a journey to lose to gain, come and die.

Bearing a cross is denying self and considering the needs of others. Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free? No, there’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me. Denying is to lose stuff, lose life to find it, “You will never live until you first walk to your death with Jesus. You can’t gain resurrection life without dying first; you don’t lose a seed when you plant it, though it seems dead and buried. Instead, you set the seed free to be what it was always intended to be.

Jesus says, come die so you can live, for what does it profit a man to gain the world, and lose his own soul?
Avoiding the walk to death with Jesus, means that; we may gain the whole world and end up losing everything. Jesus says, “Come bear the cross of self-denial and be my disciples.”