Captivating Day 15 Life For Life: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Who is Jesus talking to in these verses?

2) What does it mean to take up your cross daily?

3) What does it mean to save our life by losing it?

Luke 9:23-24

23 Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it.

Original Intent

1) Who is Jesus talking to in these verses?
In Luke 9:1-2, Jesus calls His disciples together giving them power and sending them out to tell the Good News in the region around them. The specific dialogue in these verses occurs immediately following Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Messiah. He is the One who had been promised for centuries, and now He had come to set them free, not from the grip of political power, but from sin and death. After Peter’s declaration, Jesus continues His conversation with His disciples about what the future holds. The initial conversation is with the disciples, but Jesus chose His words carefully. He says, “to them all… if anyone”. These verses were not only meant for the twelve disciples, but for all who want to follow Jesus, the true Messiah, the One who has forever conquered Sin and Death.

2) What does it mean to take up your cross daily?
As Jesus spoke these words, His original audience was extremely aware of what a cross was and its purpose. The Romans chose to use this as a form of punishment during Jesus’ day. Anyone who heard or read these words would have known the brutality associated with this punishment. Victims carried their own cross bar to the site of their crucifixion before being nailed to it. This would have meant literally shouldering the weight of the cross and carrying it. Jesus is telling His disciples to expect the same. Jesus had just predicted His death and He is preparing the disciples to walk in His footsteps. In the life of the disciples this verse literally meant suffering and being persecuted, some in a similar way to Jesus. It meant leaving all they knew and following Him at all costs, even if in the end it meant death.

3) What does it mean to save our life by losing it?
In these verses Jesus isn’t talking about the earthly, but the eternal. Jesus is shifting the perspective of the disciples, and all who would follow Him. His focal point is the saving of our lives for eternity. In this view, the frivolity of our temporal life becomes incomparable to the eternal one. The lusts of the flesh, the desires of the old nature, the need for more, for wealth, and climbing the ladder of success, whatever it looks like for different people, no longer carries the same weight of all-consuming importance when our “old ways” have been crucified at the cross of Christ. By “losing” our old life and our old way of living, we have now been rescued, and our lives have been saved, because we have been given new life, incorruptible life that will last for eternity without the chains of sin and death gripping us. While there may be persecution, suffering, or even death here on earth, there is an eternal promise. Just before these verses, Jesus told His disciples He would die and be raised from the dead. After His death and resurrection, He went even further and promised to return for His people. When He does, all will be set right and those who chose to surrender their lives for His sake have the promise of eternity to look forward to.

Everyday Application

1) Who is Jesus talking to in these verses?
While Jesus is specifically speaking to His disciples, these verses are intended just as much for everyone who has crossed the line of faith, surrendering to Jesus’ rescue from sin and death for eternity. When we choose to follow after Jesus we become disciples and fall into the group of “anyone” to whom Jesus is speaking. The calling is to follow Jesus, to literally “come after Him”, following Him intently and closely. In doing so, we are to live and serve Him no differently than those who walked with Jesus in close physical proximity while He was on earth.

2) What does it mean to take up your cross daily?
Many of us do not live in areas of the world where we are physically persecuted for our faith. However, we are still called to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. This is not a one-time decision, but a daily choice to allow Jesus to live through us. It means setting aside our selfish desires and pursuing Him at all costs. It is denying our flesh and allowing the Holy Spirit to live and work in us. Jesus made another radical statement in Luke 14:26 where He says if we do not hate our own “father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life” we cannot be His disciple. The calling to follow after Jesus isn’t a small one and it will cost us. For some, that cost means making bold choices at work or school. For others, it will be living out faith in homes and families where not everyone is a believer. For some, it will mean serving on mission either short term or long term to share the Gospel with those who do not know and have never heard. No matter what it looks like for you, it will mean stepping beyond your comfort zone and allowing the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do as you live out of the overflow of your relationship with Him. Just this last year I had to make a difficult choice to live in the Spirit or in the flesh. I had to choose to serve Jesus on mission, loving those who the world sees as unlovable, but it meant missing my daughter’s birthday. As I prayed through the decision, Jesus kept leading me back to these verses and Luke 14:26. I had to ask myself if I was willing to set all aside and follow Him or not. In the end, I chose to pick up my cross, get on a plane, and love the unlovable regardless of cost. What will you choose? Will you daily choose to step out in faith, carry your cross, and walk in Jesus’ power or will you choose the selfish fleshly desires?

3) What does it mean to save our life by losing it?
Luke 9:24 seems confusing when we first read it. How can we possibly try to save our life and lose it, or lose our life and save it? I am reminded of Matthew 10:32-33 where Matthew writes if we deny Jesus He will deny us, but if we acknowledge Jesus, He will acknowledge us. Luke’s verse communicates a similar idea. Once we place our faith in Jesus, it is no longer our life, it’s His, we are Christ’s. Jesus, and Jesus alone, has the power to save us from sin and keep us secure for eternity. Jesus says in John 14:6 He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can come to the Father apart from Him. Luke is sharing the same truth. As believers, we surrender the rights to our lives, our selfish desires, and our flesh. We turn over control to the God who holds the universe He created in His hands, and when we do, we are saved. I have no power to save myself. I cannot try to live a good life or attempt to make right choices and never sin. If I do, I will fail every time. I will continue to lose my life if I try in my own might. The only way to save myself is surrender to the God of the universe and accept what Jesus did for me that I can never do on my own, accepting the sacrifice and gift of salvation, and save my life in doing so. Is your life a saved one or a lost one?

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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