Origens Commentary On The Gospel Of Matthew by Origen
24. Self-Denial and Cross-Bearing.
|Then Jesus said to His disciples, If any man wills to follow after Me,| etc. He shows by these words that, to will to come after Jesus and to follow Him, springs from no ordinary manly courage, and that no one who has not denied himself can come after Jesus. And the man denies himself who wipes out by a striking revolution his own former life which had been spent in wickedness; as by way of illustration he who was once licentious denies his licentious self, having become self-controlled even abidingly. But it is probable that some one may put the objection, whether as he denied himself so he also confesses himself, when he denied himself, the unjust, and confesses himself, the righteous one. But, if Christ is righteousness, he who has received righteousness confesses not himself but Christ; so also he who has found wisdom, by the very possession of wisdom, confesses Christ. And such a one indeed as, |with the heart believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth maketh confession unto salvation,| and bears testimony to the works of Christ, as making confession by all these things of Christ before men, will be confessed by Him before His Father in heaven. So also he who has not denied himself but denied the Christ will experience the saying, |I also will deny him.| On this account let every thought and every purpose and every word and every action become a denial of ourselves, but a testimony about Christ and in Christ; for I am persuaded that every action of the perfect man is a testimony to Christ Jesus, and that abstinence from every sin is a denial of self, leading him after Christ. And such an one is crucified with Christ, and taking up his own cross follows Him who for our sakes bears His own cross, according to that which is said in John: |They took Jesus therefore and put it on Him,| etc., down to the words, |Where they crucified Him.| But the Jesus according to John, so to speak, bears the cross for Himself, and bearing it went out; but the Jesus according to Matthew and Mark and Luke, does not bear it for Himself, for Simon of Cyrene bears it. And perhaps this man refers to us, who because of Jesus take up the cross of Jesus, but Jesus Himself takes it upon Himself; for there are, as it were, two conceptions of the cross, the one which Simon of Cyrene bears, and the other which Jesus Himself bears for Himself.