Luke 9 vs 23-27
Luke 9 v 25. “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”
Christ at this juncture does not explain his death to his disciples. He simply states the fact and that it would be followed by his resurrection.
His resurrection would, of course, vindicate his claim to be the Messiah. But even his mighty resurrection would not end all opposition to him. On the contrary.
If anyone wanted to follow him, even after he was raised from the dead, it means a basic and fundamental denying of himself. That means a renunciation of self – a deliberate removal of self as the centre-piece of life. It would mean taking up his cross, a metaphor to indicate the bearing of the same hostility from the world that Christ bore. It means sharing the shame and reproach of being a follower of Jesus – the crucified One. There is no immediate and glorious victory in this life. Disciples may need to lay down their lives for Jesus and indeed have done so in every generation since then.
There is no eventual total conversion of the whole world. The Kingdom of God, as Jesus has been teaching it would only be established when He personally returned to this earth in the glory of the Father and the angels (23-26). Then only would be the time of rewards, and indeed also the time of eternal loss to all who denied him, throughout the ages. In the meantime Christians are called to be faithful in the face of great animosity to Christ and His message.
These words may seem as an anti-climax after the high point of their recognition of Jesus as the Christ. In fact these words about bearing the Cross could seem very bleak and discouraging to the disciples if the glorious Kingdom was to happen only at the end of time. How would anybody find the courage to hold out?
Our Lord knew the problem and saw the need to strengthen faith in his disciples and through them, all those who would subsequently come to believe in him. Therefore he adds the words, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here, will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God” (9 v 27)
Jesus was referring to the three disciples who were to witness, a few days later, the wondrous spectacle of the transfiguration on the mountain.
How was that going to help them? That is a subject for tomorrow.