“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
In this passage, Jesus speaks of contrasts: saving life yet losing it, gaining the world yet being cast away, etc. There are two main ideas I’d like to discuss here: denying yourself and losing your life, and being ashamed of Christ and His words.
Jesus clearly asks us to deny ourselves and follow Him. What does this mean? I think it is best illustrated through the phrase, “take up his cross.” Jesus was the ultimate example of denying yourself when He died on His Cross, for us. He wants us to follow Him by losing our lives for His sake as He did for us—yet not in the same exact manner. Taking up our cross daily points this out - though we yet live, we can give up our lives, day by day, by serving others. We live for Christ as we live for our brothers and sisters. Jesus says that whatever we do to the least of His brethren we do for Him. As we surrender daily in service to those around us, we “lose” our lives for Christ’s sake. yet in so doing we find true life.
Kristina Zaloum is an ’07 Communications graduate from New Jersey.
If we are ashamed of Jesus and His words, He shall be ashamed of us. As one of my friends put it, “What’s to be ashamed of about Jesus? We have everything we could ever ask for in Him.” This is true. It’s so easy, however, to forget all this and focus on our own reputations, our fears and insecurities. It’s easy to say we’re Christians when there are other believers around, but perhaps we start to squirm when we feel God calling us to share our faith with the cashier. Are we ashamed of the Gospel?
I want Jesus to be pleased with me, not ashamed. I don’t want to be cast away. Lord, help me to remember that I’m serving You when I serve others, and give me the boldness to declare You wherever You ask me to!