Mark 8:34 - Want To Follow Jesus?

Mark 8:34 (KJV) And when he had called the 
people unto him with his disciples also, he said 
unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him 
deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow 


Jesus paradoxes are statements that seem 
self-contradictory and opposed to common sense, yet express 
profound truths. [College Press NIV Commentary] 



      Cease to make self the object of his 
life. [NIV SB] 

      Requires a total commitment to turn 
from selfish ways (Mark 8:34-35).  
      [One Year NLT SB]

      Self-denial is nothing more or less 
than choosing Gods will when that  
      will conflicts with what some part of 
ourselves wants to do. [Victor  
      Bible Background Commentary]

      Without denying our self worth, Jesus 
asks us to deny our self-  
      centeredness so that his priorities 
become ours. [Quest SB]  

      Deny oneself does not mean to hate 
oneself or to go without something,  
      but to give full control of their life 
to Christ. [Passages Of Life SB] 


      Taking up one's cross is a metaphor 
for giving up one's life to follow  
      Jesus. [One Year NLT SB]


      Is staying close to Him, living in 
intimate daily relationship, [Victor  
      Teachers Commentary]

      Christ calls us to follow Him, 
regardless of the cost, and He has never  
      promised that our path will always be 
smooth.... But in the midst of the  
      suffering, trials and temptations, He 
will provide His peace, joy and  
      fellowship.... In the midst of every 
situation of life He can give an  
      inner calm and strength that you could 
never imagine apart from Him.   
      Billy Graham [Time With God SB]


Chasing Happiness
   We live in a selfie culture. In fact, 
people have literally died by trying to capture the 
ultimate selfie. We want to look good and project an 
image of having it all together. Were a 
self-obsessed society. 
   Interestingly, the Bible says that 
narcissism will be one of the signs of the last days: 
In the last days there will be very difficult 
times. For people will love only themselves and 
their money. They will be boastful and proud, 
scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and 
ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred (2 
Timothy 3:1-2 NLT). 
   Isnt that an accurate description of 
   However, selfish people are unhappy 
people. Studies have confirmed this. We actually get 
a momentary burst of what we might call 
temporary happiness when we do something selfish. 
   One expert pointed out that selfish acts 
bring us happiness, but only for short-term 
periods of time. Then our selfish happiness fades 
quickly and ultimately drives us to more selfish 
   On the other hand, selfless acts bring 
happiness. We know this from experience after we do 
something for someone else. 
   In contrast to our narcissistic culture, 
Jesus said, If you try to hang on to your life, 
you will lose it. But if you give up your life 
for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, 
you will save it (Mark 8:35 NLT). 
   Jesus is effectively saying, If you 
get your priorities in order and deny yourself 
instead of loving yourself and being obsessed with 
yourself, you will find fulfillment in life. 
   Theres nothing wrong with wanting to 
be happy. In fact, Jesus is really telling us 
how to be happy. But it isnt by chasing 
   So we wont find happiness by pursuing 
it. Rather, well find it by putting God first 
in our lives and following Him. [Greg Laurie 
from Harvest Ministries; 


   We adorn our churches with crosses, use 
them as fashion accessories, and even get into 
lawsuits over where we can display them. But I think 
our society has a lot of misconceptions about 
the cross today. 
   In the first century, the cross was a 
repulsive symbol. It was an incredibly horrible way to 
die. The Romans didnt invent crucifixion, but 
they perfected it, so to speak. And they saved 
crucifixion for the worst of criminals. 
   If you saw someone surrounded by Roman 
soldiers and carrying a cross, you knew that person 
was about to die a horrible, painful, torturous 
   Yet Jesus said, Whoever desires to 
come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up 
his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to 
save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his 
life for My sake and the gospels will save 
it (Mark 8:34-35 NKJV). 
   These words of Jesus to His first-century 
disciples still ring true for His followers today. But 
what does it mean to take up the cross and follow 
   Jesus began by saying, Whoever desires 
to come after Me, let him deny himself. The 
word deny means to say no to yourself. It means 
to put Gods will above your own. 
   What it doesnt mean is enduring 
whatever issue or difficulty you may have. That 
isnt what it means to bear the cross. 
   To bear the cross means one thing: deny 
yourself and put God first. 
   Ive been a Christian for 50 years, so 
Ive seen a lot of things. As time passes, Im 
not so much impressed by charisma as I am by 
character and longevity. Im impressed by a 
Christian who weathers the storms of life and 
continues to give glory to God because thats what 
following Jesus is all about. [Greg Laurie from 
Harvest Ministries; https://www.harvestdaily.com] 

   The Bible calls us to take up our cross 
daily and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34). But what does 
that really mean? How do we do that? Does it mean 
caring for a chronically ill family member, or 
maybe putting up with a melancholy spouse who 
doesn't communicate, or living paycheck to paycheck. 
It may mean some of those things, but it's also 
something more. Since Jesus died for our sins on the 
cross, then taking up our cross means dying to 
those same sins. Giving them up. Casting them 
aside. That's what it means when Paul in today's 
Scripture reading tells us to become like Jesus in His 
death. A cross is an instrument of death, and when 
we take it up daily, we learn how to die to 
ourselves, to our selfish wants and wishes. But take 
heart! The cross also means life. Not just life 
eternal, but joy and peace and power in the very 
midst of today's hardships and worries. 
   Lord Jesus, I'm so glad You spoke about 
taking up my cross daily. Each new day gives me a 
fresh opportunity to do that. Maybe I didn't pick 
it up yesterday or the day before, but I can 
pick it up today. Today, I will put You first. 
Today, I will place Your desires before mine. [A 
Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada and Larry 
Libby re Phi. 3:7-11] 


   God wired the universe so that happiness 
does not come from status, salary, sex, or 
   Happiness comes from service. God 
designed you to be happiest when you are giving your 
life away. Why? Because God wants you to become 
like him. And its all about love! 
   To have a happy heart, practice service 
and generosity every day. 
   Jesus came to serve and give. Those two 
actions will bring more happiness into your life 
than anything else, and they define what it means 
to follow Jesus. If youre not serving and if 
youre not giving, then youre not following 
Jesus. Its thats simple. 
   God also wired the universe in such a way 
that the more you give yourself away, the more 
God gives to you and the more blessed and 
happier you are. 
   In Philippians 2:17-18, Paul says, 
Your faith makes you offer your lives as a 
sacrifice in serving God. If I have to offer my own 
blood with your sacrifice, I will be happy and 
full of joy with all of you. You also should be 
happy and full of joy with me (NCV). 
   Sacrifice and serving are two of the keys 
to lifelong happiness - generously giving your 
life away for the sake of the Gospel. [Daily 
Devotional by Rick Warren: 


   I designed you to live in union with Me. 
This union does not negate who you are; it 
actually makes you more fully yourself. When you try 
to live independently of Me, you experience 
emptiness and dissatisfaction. You may gain the whole 
world and yet lose everything that really counts. 
   Find fulfillment through living close to 
Me, yielding to My purposes for you. Though I 
may lead you along paths that feel alien to you, 
trust that I know what I am doing. If you follow 
Me wholeheartedly, you will discover facets of 
yourself that were previously hidden. I know you 
intimately-far better than you know yourself. In union with 
Me, you are complete. In closeness to Me, you 
are transformed more and more into the one I 
designed you to be. (Mark 8:36; Psalm 139:13-16; 2 
Corinthians 3:17-18) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young] 




Matthew 10:39 - Living for Jesus or for Self?



If anyone has a paraphrase, commentary or 
testimony on this passage of Scripture, either 
personal or otherwise, I would be interested in 
hearing from you.  Thanks in advance and let's keep 
uplifting Jesus that all might be drawn to Him. Fred 


Most Important Decision in Life: 

Steps to Peace by Billy Graham: 

A Man without Equal by Bill Bright: 

Seeking God Made Real: 

Prayer Made Real: 

Importance of Choice: 
http://creationhealth.com/CREATION-Health/Choice [click on video]  

Medical Seminar on Healthful Living by David 
DeRose, MD, MPH: 


Lifting Up Jesus Bible Studies: 

Amazing Facts Bible Studies: 

Hope Awakens Bible Study Guides: 

Glow Tract Video Bible Studies: 


Islam and Christianity in Prophecy, The 
Third and Final Conflict by Tim Roosenberg: 

Unlocking Bible Prophecies by Cami Oetman of 
Adventist World Radio: https://www.awr.org/bible 

Revelation Now by Pastor Doug Batchelor: 

Hope Awakens by John Bradshaw of IIW: 

Prophecies Decoded by Pastor Ron Clouzet: