"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

The Gospel According to Mark

There are few passages that capture more clearly the gospel’s call to those seeking to follow the Lord than the last verses of Mark chapter 8.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

C.S. Lewis comments on verse 35 on “losing yourself to find yourself” in his last two pages of his great book, Mere Christianity. Read and think about what he writes below.

He says, “The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.… our real selves are all waiting for us in Him.”  He continues, “The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surrounding and natural desires. In fact what I so proudly call ‘Myself’ becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop.”

Most of what I call me can be very easily explained by my physical drives and by what others have said and done to me. It is only when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to his personality, that I finally begin to have a real personality all of my own. Nevertheless, “… you must not go to Him for the sake of [a new self]. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all.”

Lewis is saying if you go to Jesus not for Jesus but to get a new personality, you still haven’t really gone to Jesus. He says your real new self will not come as long as you’re looking for it. It will only come when you’re looking for Him.

Jesus is saying that going to the cross, means losing yourself, but it also means you have to embrace a new value system. Verse 36 & 37 – “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul?”

Jesus is using that question to make a statement, namely, If you gain the whole world by valuing it above me—by being more proud of it than me—it won’t be able to save you in the end. There is nothing you can pay for your soul if you don’t value the death He has died.

Taking up your cross means you come to value His cross as the greatest treasure and that now changes the value you put on everything else.

I love this gospel!