TOPIC: LET HIM DENY HIMSELF
TEXT: MATT. 16:24
''Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.''
In clearing the sense in the extant text, a paraphrase thereof would run thus: 'He who wishes to live as I live; obey God as I do; and walk in my footsteps, must without fail pay attention no longer to what his lower nature wants, but rather sign up for death, by taking up his execution stake and follow me to where we can be put to death together.' Jesus, seems to had said, 'Friends, as I observe you all, I believe you like my lifestyle; and you want to be like me: wonderful and laudable ambition is it! But understand this: I am heading to a place of complete annihilation of my earhtly life; am a man condemned to die like common criminal; shame and sorrow are strewed on my ways: my path leads to death; would you follow me? Then, forget earth and its glory, forget human's ties, take up your cross--run to death! fear not death. No man follows me unless he is a dead man. Neither Praise nor frown of man counts for aught to him again!' None follows Christ without a mortal blow to his ego, love, name and pride; none follow Christ without becoming freehanded through the nails driven through his palms; no man that follows him, who never has his hastiness dealt with by the nail which went through His feet; thorns would puncture every human wisdom. Following Christ, notes the death of the old man. The cross must be laid on the shoulder, embrased, affected and accepted. When Christ turns to see those following Him, He looks for nothing as mark of true following but the cross. He would ask, 'Man, where is thy cross? where is thy readiness and expectation of death? You are mine and counted as my followers only when I see your cross! Thy cross speaks loudest of thy williness to face anything for me. Thy appearance, profession and activities are dumb things, only thy cross could say in my hearing, 'goodbye to earth and its glory!' Friends, do you know, by expirience the daily bearing of the cross? To be continued.