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Daily Devotional Matthew 16:21–28

Mountain climbers, when tackling a difficult steep ascent, must leave behind unnecessary weight and fix their eyes on the right route to reach the summit. It is the same for modern-day disciples who are seeking to follow all that our Lord has commanded us to do.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.


Matthew 16 is a pivotal chapter, as Jesus begins His journey toward Jerusalem (v. 21). Right after Peter’s great confession to the Lord, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16), Jesus invites His disciples, and us by extension, to follow Him. But following Jesus is not without cost; it involves self-denial and taking up our cross. However, Jesus assures us that whatever we lose for His sake will be gained back in the kingdom of God (v. 27). He ends with a promise of His personal return in glory, accompanied by His angels (vv. 27–28).

Taking up our cross means surrendering our desires and priorities to align with God’s will. It’s in the surrender that we discover the fullness of God’s presence and purpose for our lives. It also requires unwavering focus and singularity in our calling to follow Him. Though this path may lead us through challenges and trials, the promise of God’s presence and the hope of His eternal kingdom are able to sustain us.

The writer of Hebrews summarized this by writing about “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb.12:2). The journey of discipleship certainly is not an easy one, but it’s a journey in which we’re never alone because we follow close after Jesus.

Go Deeper

What adjustments do you need to make in your resolve to follow Jesus well? Are you missing key equipment? Do you need to refocus your eyes on the right end point? Reflect and pray about this today.

Pray with Us:

Heavenly Father, we acknowledge it’s not easy to be a disciple of Your Son! We’d rather have fun than pick up our crosses. Lead us on the way of following Jesus. Help us remember that Your presence and the hope of Your kingdom sustain us.

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