Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley

God as the source of hope – Day 3

Hope through the cross

Bible text(s)

34Then Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him. “If anyone wants to come with me,” he told them, “he must forget self, carry his cross, and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Mark 8:34-35GNBOpen in Bible reader

In Mark 8:31-38, Jesus is talking about His impending suffering and death. We could well have been in that crowd, for his message is binding on every one of us.

The first mention in the Gospel of Mark of the “cross” is here. If you were in that crowd, living under the rule of Rome, it would have sent a chill up your spine.

The word “cross” does not have the same stark impact on our ears today. But the meaning of what our Lord is saying is precisely the same. If you want to follow Jesus you must be prepared to place him first and foremost in your life. There is no other way. Nothing and no one must outrank the importance of your relationship with your Saviour. You must be prepared to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him.

Thank God for the witness first given to us by Stephen (Acts 6 – 8:1). In every generation there have been martyrs who have endured suffering to the point of death and through their suffering glorified God’s name.

The persecution of Christians continues to this day. One needs only to follow the media reports to perceive how shockingly believers are treated and often ruthlessly slaughtered, because of their Christian faith.

Not all of us are called by God to make the supreme sacrifice, but all of us are called by God to lead a Christ-centred lifestyle. That means being resolute in carrying out God’s will for our life. The Holy Spirit enables us to do just that.

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