The Daily Walk of a Disciple

Reading: Luke 9:1-36


“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (v. 23). Jesus spoke these words before his own crucifixion; thus, his statement here was even more radical to his original hearers that it might sound to readers today. He knew the suffering and anguish that would come in Jerusalem (v. 22). He even discussed this matter with Moses and Elijah during his transfiguration (v. 31). So, while Jesus knew the cross that awaited him, the disciples who listened to this description would have been shocked to say the least.


While the crowds referred to him as a great prophet, his closest followers knew he was the Christ. And yet their understanding of his identity would grow each new day they walked with him, from witnessing his miracles and seeing him transfigured on the mountain, to watching him being carried away to his death and later experiencing his resurrection. As Jesus prepared his disciples for this unfolding picture of his full identity (and theirs), he used the imagery of the very device that would bring his own physical life to an end.


Following Jesus is a sacrifice. It is not a self-help routine. It is not entry into a social club. It is not chasing after feel-good entertainment. It is not securing divine approval for your own opinions and ideas. Rather, it is an invitation to put our old life to death and put on a new life of self-denial. It is a life in which we sacrifice our own will, while submitting to God and serving other people before ourselves. This is what Christ did, and it is what Christians do. Anyone might summon the grit and determination to live this way for one day. But consistently choosing to take up our cross each new day is what strengthens faith, builds resolve, and keeps our eyes filled with the wonder of God’s love for us.