Matthew 16:24–28 (ESV)
Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but
whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the
Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they
see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Talk of suffering and death, taking up one’s cross, and losing one’s life sounds strange
and foreboding to Jesus’ disciples. It does to us too. Yet the end is not the cross; the end is life in God’s kingdom. To live in His kingdom must be our ultimate purpose. Many of the first disciples saw the glorious unveiling of that Kingdom when
Christ rose from the dead. Peter saw the fulfillment of the promise on Pentecost. We continue to behold the spread of the message of Christ’s cross into all the world.
I pray: Blessed Savior, give me the will and strength to take up the cross and follow You to life eternal. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis,
MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1618.