Mark 8:34-35 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
Take Up Your Cross
34 Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it.
What does it mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus? In order to answer this question, one needs some context of 1st century Roman rule in Israel. The Romans executed prisoners through the means of crucifixion. A prisoner condemn to the death penalty would have to carry their cross to the execution point at which time they would be executed by Roman authorities. Picking up one’s cross was a symbolic gesture that Christ used to demonstrate what it really meant to follow him. For verse 35 makes it clear that one who loses his life for the sake of Christ and the gospel will be saved. Christ was teaching in this passage the idea that a person must be willing to deny their own self interest in order to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. This is a concept that is taught throughout the entirety of scripture. Man is unable to serve himself and God. A Christian must be willing to sacrifice their own interest in order to follow Jesus Christ.