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In thanksgiving... for the Cross and Daily Surrender (Luke 9: 23-24)

12th November 2020

In thanksgiving... for the Cross and Daily Surrender (Luke 9: 23-24)

The Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs

Luke 9: 23-24 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it [ESV].

We find this exhortation from Jesus in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) but it is Luke alone who adds the word ‘daily’. If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  

If you want to follow Jesus, consider his words to the disciples:

  1. Let him deny himself
  2. Take up his cross daily
  3. Follow me

Denying ourselves of anything is not very popular in the 21st century.  We live in a time where we have immediate access to endless entertainment and in most places, uninterrupted communication with other people through cell phones and internet connections. In the United States of America, where I live, you can order groceries online and have food delivered to your home using your cell phone or computer.  We have developed a need to ‘get what we want in an instant’ no matter the time of the day or night. As a result, we can find it very difficult to embrace the call of self-denial.

Our Lord’s call to self-denial is a call to full and glad surrender. He is calling us to disown ourselves, repudiate ourselves and turn our back on ourselves. Self-denial is not denying certain luxuries for ourselves. It is denying ourselves completely. Self-denial is giving up self-indulgence all together in order to follow Jesus.

Jesus also calls us to take up our cross daily.  As followers of Jesus we are to put ourselves into the place of a condemned criminal on his way to execution. If we follow Jesus with a cross on our shoulder, we will walk to the only place people go when they are carrying crosses – the place of execution. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (the German pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident who was executed on April 9, 1945) said in his great book ‘The Cost of Discipleship," “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die”.

As a boy chorister in my Anglican School, we would often sing Charles Everest’s 19th century response provoking hymn, “Take up thy Cross”:

Take up thy cross, the Savior said,
If thou wouldst My disciple be;
Deny thyself, the world forsake,
And humbly follow after Me.

Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame,
Nor let thy foolish pride rebel;
Thy Lord for thee the cross endured,
And saved thy soul from death and hell.

Take up thy cross and follow Christ,
Nor think til death to lay it down;
For only those who bear the cross
May hope to wear the glorious crown.

As we deny ourselves and take up our cross daily, we find ourselves, by the grace of God, positioned to follow Christ.  Being followers of the Lord will always require a call to self-denial and daily walking to the place of the cross.  It is here at the cross we discover that God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:8 ESV].

Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs
Diocesan Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word, a diocese in the Anglican Church in North America.


Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.  

BPC, 2019.

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