What do you benefit if you gain the whole world?
Mark 8:36 One short question offering a reason for taking up your own cross and following Christ
“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”
Mark 8:36 NLT
These words of Jesus are found in the Gospel of Mark, stating in one short question the reason for taking up your own cross and following Christ.
Jesus had just finished telling His followers that He would suffer, die on the cross, and rise again after three days. Peter was shocked to hear this and rebuked Jesus, who in turn rebuked Peter with the words “Get behind Me, Satan!”. Peter couldn’t handle the thought of the Messiah’s suffering and death, thinking of the things of men rather than the things of God.
With that, Jesus then warned His followers that if they wanted to come after Him, they’d have to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Him. This had to come as a shock to them, realizing that they would have to live with their lives centered on others, not themselves, even if it resulted in their own deaths.
At this point, the disciples and other followers could have easily just said “Hey, this is too difficult - I’m not going to suffer and die for this guy!” and walked away. But, as Jesus says, what would they gain by doing so?
They’d be back to living life in the world, but end up losing an eternity with Jesus. Even Jesus received the temptation from Satan to gain the whole world (Luke 4:5-8), but He wisely knew that obedience to the Father would give him victory over the enemy, as well as eternal life at the Father’s side.
People considering Christianity are often afraid that their lives are going to be somewhat less happy after being born again; that taking up that cross is going to be an onerous task. The truth is that by giving our lives to Jesus and being more concerned for others than for ourselves, we gain everything that really matters! Isn’t that enough of a reason for constant rejoicing?
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father in Heaven, forgive me for the times I have focused my life on earthly things that have no eternal significance. Please, Holy Spirit, keep my priorities focused on Jesus and His plan for my life. I know that I can only find authentic and eternal life in Jesus, and it is in His name I pray, AMEN.