Discipleship Demands Self-Denial

Matthew 16:24

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Everyone who desires to be a disciple of Jesus Christ must follow Him always. That’s why Jesus, referring to His disciples, said that such a man “will come after me”. In other words, a disciple is a follower of Jesus.

The disciple will not stop following Jesus in order to follow his personal desires and ambitions. But, as Jesus demanded, the disciple must “deny himself” in order to follow after Him. In other words, the disciple of Jesus must give up his own desires which will distract or hinder him from following Jesus. Nothing should be more important to the disciple than following Jesus Christ. The disciple must be prepared to deny himself. In the life of a true disciple, Jesus is everything, and himself nothing. A true disciple will say, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

Such self-denial may bring troubles and suffering in the life of a disciple. That’s why Jesus said that the disciple must “take up his cross, and follow me”. The word “cross” is used by Jesus in our text as a symbol of the difficulties and troubles a disciple always has to endure in following Christ. Yet, even though the disciple has to endure troubles, Jesus will lead him through it all to a victorious Christian life.

Prabhudas Koshy