“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” ~ Luke 9:23
Sometimes when you look at Scripture, one little phrase can change everything. That is definitely the case with this passage.
Jesus had just been talking with his twelve disciples. Peter had correctly called him the Messiah. Then Jesus foretold how this would involve suffering and death on a cross. Peter said it doesn’t have to go down that way, and Jesus responded with “Get behind me Satan!” Peter must’ve felt quite the range of emotion in those moments.
But then Jesus said the next thing, not just to his inner group, but to all. To all. Not just his disciples, not just those who happened to be in the audience that day, but to anyone who would ever read these words.
I don’t know about you, but that little phrase “to all” makes me want to pay attention.
Much has been made in recent years about Christianity being some kind of exclusive religion. This verse here says exactly the opposite. The message of Jesus isn’t just for a closed group. It’s not an exclusive thing. It’s for everybody. This verse reminds me of another of my favorite passages, 1 Peter 3:18. “Christ suffered and died once for all.” (NLV)
Christ’s message is for all. Christ’s sacrifice is for all. Christ’s resurrection is for all. And his gift of salvation is for all.
It is up to all of us, to each of us, to respond to his invitation.
Jesus is saying to everyone, including you and me, that this is what following him is all about. Deny yourself. Take up your cross daily. And follow him.
How will you respond?