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What It Means To Follow The Leader


Mark 8: 31-38

I think most of us, when we were young children, played “Follow the Leader.”

Now, I mention that to you because that is what we, as disciples of Christ are to do. We are to follow our Leader. Do what He did; Act like He is; and say what He says.

Up to this point in the gospel of Mark a lot of people have been trying to figure out who this Jesus is?

Now Peter had the right answer…but he had the wrong definition.

And Jesus in verse 33 turns around…and rebukes Peter…and He says, “Get behind Me, Satan.”

But, what we need to realize is “we may sometimes consider ourselves to be true disciples…”

So, what are the marks of a disciple? Look at what Jesus says again, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

And a disciple “sets his mind” on God’s interests and not man’s or his own.

And notice the phrase there in 33 where Jesus says, “setting your mind on God’s interest.”

What is God’s greatest interest?

When Jesus speaks of “setting your mind on God’s interests”, as disciples, we should be constantly interested in people…and their salvation.

Even if you are sick…not feeling well…don’t leave God’s interests behind.

Whatever you do…if it is eating out…or going to ball games…or working…or visiting…or traveling…or going  to the grocery store…or walking down the street…or driving…have your mind “set on God’s interests and not so much on your own.”

That’s what a disciple does.

But Jesus doesn’t quit there. Look at verse 34.

And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

When Jesus says, “Let him deny Himselftake up his crossand follow Me”…everyone of these phrases is an imperative…or a command.

And this isn’t something you do once; it is not something you do occasionally.

And let me make something clear here.

Well, it doesn’t work that way. Turn with me to John 6:66.

“You do not want to go away also, do you?”

 What we need to understand is, “deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow Me”, means every day!

Go back to Mark 8 and notice something else in verse 34.

He says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow ME”, PERIOD!

Now look at the phrase, “deny yourself.”

Instead, Jesus says that you “take up your cross.

Do you know what the cross was?

So Jesus says, “You deny yourself…and you “take up your cross”…you take up the “will of God” and you follow after Him.”

A number of years ago, Queen Elizabeth was a child, and her nanny refused her a toy. And the 5 year old princess stomped her feet and said, “I am a princess and I can do whatever I like.”

To deny self and take up your cross” means that your life belongs to the kingdom and not to yourself.

Now this is hard preaching. It is even harder living.

Well, Christ tells us. Look at the next 3 verses and notice that each verse begins with the word “Because” or “For.”

Vs. 35: “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it.    “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?    “For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

 The reason for living your life as a disciple of Christ is the reality of eternity and because of the finality of judgement.

Beloved, Jesus never promised us comfort.

And let me say this, your view of discipleship is directly related to your view of  Jesus.

And discipleship demands that you “deny self, take up your cross, and follow Him.”

Let’s be the disciples that Christ wants us to be. Let’s follow the Leader.

If you haven’t been repent.

If you haven’t even started won’t you deny yourself today…take up your cross…take up His will and be baptized…and follow Him.