Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
This passage presents great difficulty to many Christian followers because here Jesus is saying that suffering is a necessary part of being his follower. Jesus here confronts us with deconstructing our false selves and totally surrendering ourselves to God. The cross here is a symbol of suffering but also the vehicle of resurrection. Without the cross there is no salvation. When we are called to pick up our cross we are being asked to allow God to work through us no matter what our egos or false constructs of ourselves say. The point of this text is to liberate ourselves for our selfish desires and allow God to use us. The difficulty in clinging to material things is they break, get stolen, and divide people. By letting go of materialism and egoism we are free to serve Christ fully without being held back by our belongings or our fear of losing our belongings.