If I want to save my life I have to be willing to lose it!
Being a disciple of Jesus in the first century meant you really did risk everything to follow Him. In 2017 many call themselves followers and disciples of Jesus but there are clear marks of those who risk everything and follow Him today.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Mark 8:34-38)
1. As a kid, who did you most want to follow and be like?
2. Looking back at that person you wanted to follow, what things would you have to give up today to be like that person? Would it be worth it to you?
3. What activities or attitudes are key to following Christ, according to this passage?
4. In your own words, what did Jesus mean by “take up his cross”? Why is doing so a necessary part of discipleship?
5. Why does Jesus want wholehearted commitment? Why isn’t it enough to be “somewhat” willing to follow Jesus?
In order to call ourselves Christians, we have to be willing to follow Jesus no matter what it costs us, because that cost is far less than the cost Christ paid for us.
6.Discuss the concept of shame, which Jesus warned against in Mark 8:38. Where do you see this in your own experience?
7. What promise did Jesus make to His followers in this passage? How does that promise encourage you to take up your cross daily?
What are some practical ways you might integrate the practice of self-denial into your life this week?
What is one situation you anticipate this week when you will have the opportunity to confess that Jesus is the Christ of God?
In what ways can we help each other take up our crosses
8:34. Jesus’ next words were not just for the disciples but for everyone in the crowd. After telling His disciples about His impending death, He told everyone about the cost of being a follower of His. The phrase “deny himself” implies that, like Jesus, we must seek God’s will and submit our will to His. “Take up his cross” must have been a puzzling, offensive statement to the listeners. They knew what the cross represented. By denying oneself, taking up one’s cross and following Jesus, a disciple acknowledges that he is submitting to Jesus’ authority.
8:35-37. These statements expand the understanding of verse 34. When people lose their lives by taking up the cross, they find life in Christ. In the same way, trusting in riches will not gain a person eternal life. There is nothing that a person can exchange for his or her soul.
8:38. In verse 31, Jesus spoke of His passion, death, and resurrection. In this verse He speaks of His eventual return in glory. Jesus had full confidence in His triumph over death. After His resurrection, He will judge those who have been ashamed of Him. He will be ashamed of them as well.