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Mark - Who is Christ?
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to MARK
PART 5 - Christ Reveals His Death and His Life to His Disciples (Mark 8:27 - 10:45)

2. Principles of Following Jesus (Mark 8:34-38)

MARK 8:34-38
34 He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his life? 38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

These verses are so rich that huge volumes are insufficient to interpret them. So learn them by heart, tell others about them at all times, and ask Christ to realize them in your life, in the joy of the Holy Spirit.

Peter believed in Christ and determined to follow him, without realizing that his own fleshly mind and human feeling were not in harmony with the kingdom of God, for no one is righteous before the Holy One. He who does not condemn himself, confessing his sins and putting to death his pride, is not worthy or capable of following Christ.

The first step in our discipleship requires self-denial. So let us not respond to ourselves any longer, but say to our selfish wishes “No!” Let us consider ourselves as nothing. Let us not honor, or glorify ourselves.

Why does Christ ask us to take a negative position toward our ego? Because egocentricity poisoned every aspect of our life, so that our thoughts become polluted, and our good deeds incomplete and insufficient. Do you begin to deny yourself, or do you love yourself, and your image? Do you disown your lusts, or are you still struggling against your pride? Jesus denied himself and his family, and became a servant to everyone. Do you aspire to be esteemed and regarded highly? If so, you would not meet with Jesus, who is meek and contented. Deny yourself, for our God is a lowly Lord.

Jesus leads his disciples to a second step in following him, saying: “Take up your cross!” He does not mean his own cross, but our problems, sufferings, and persecutions for his name; he refers to the general meaning of the cross at that time, which was designed by the Romans to execute criminals and runaway slaves. By mentioning the word “cross”, Jesus assumes that you are guilty before God, a slave of sins, disobedient, and that death is your fate.

Only a few of Jesus’ followers recognize the mystery of self-condemnation, for our knowledge of ourselves requires first our knowledge of God. My measure of myself is not my thought, or my feeling, but God himself, his law, and his greatness. Before him, we are nothing. We are perishing and corrupt. Blessed are you if you recognize the loving holy God. Then you will know, without explanation, who you are, and you will become entirely broken.

Do you deny and condemn yourself? Then follow Jesus as an obedient disciple, obtaining guidance, power, and comfort from him. Paul experienced this position, and described it with his well-known statement: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”

Once again, we say: if you seek celebrity, power, and earthly success, your spiritual life will become weak, and you will become as one of those who are dead in sins. But where you sacrifice your life thankfully because of your reconciliation to God, and spread the gospel of Christ by word and deed, you will live peacefully and joyfully forever, not only because of the good fruit you bear in yourself, but because of the hope, love, and prayers established by the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. The Holy Spirit renews and creates in you a holy mind. The new life in Christ is the true life, which is worthy of being called life, and everything else is but affliction and misery. In spite of their great wealth and luxurious cars, many millionaires sleep with their guns under their pillows. Beauty queens live with wounded, injured consciences. Such people are unhappy. They will remain worried and miserable until they are purified with Christ’s blood, and renewed by the power of his Holy Spirit.

Every man without Jesus is a slave to sin, losing the purity of his heart, having lost himself forever. Man is unable to renew himself by his own efforts. Without Jesus, you are poor, lost, and condemned to destruction, for you are unclean and wicked by nature. In fact, Christ alone is the Savior of the world, and whoever neglects or rejects the word of his salvation will be destroyed forever. But those who accept his gospel, and confess his power in our disobedient age, will see hope in the future of the world, for Christ is coming soon in the glory of his Father. His living followers are his glorious retinue. Then he will set up the kingdom of his love on earth with those who died to themselves, and there they will live in the power of his Spirit. Are you still a slave to your lusts, or are you established in Christ?

PRAYER: We thank you Lord Jesus, because you left your heavenly glory, made yourself of no reputation, became a weak man, obedient to the guidance of your Father, and bought us back to the true spiritual life; also you humbled and denied yourself, than returned to your Father and his glory, living and reigning with him in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever. Teach us your thought that we may deny ourselves, leave our lusts crucified on your cross, serve you as you deserve, and love men as servants of your pleasure. Amen.


  1. What are the necessary conditions for of following Jesus?


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