From Revd Christopher Deakin

From The Vicar

‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.’ (Luke 9: 23)

These words of Jesus are spoken at a turning point in the gospel. Jesus challenges the disciples about His identity and their commitment to Him: ‘who do the crowds say I am?’ (18). It is at this point that He ‘resolutely set out for Jerusalem’ (9:51). On our journey through Lent, as we look to events of Good Friday and Easter, what are our priorities as Jesus’ disciples to be?

To deny ourselves: this means to saying No to ourselves and Yes to God, as we humbly submit our will to His. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane ‘not My will but Yours be done.’ (Luke 22:42). It means putting Jesus first in everything: our work, family, ambitions, possessions, marriage, finance and future. We will not be guided by self-interest, but by allowing God to show us how to live in His way.

To take up our cross: this reminds us that the disciple is not immune from suffering, as we follow Jesus along the way of cross. Just as He carried his cross to Golgotha, we cannot avoid experiencing suffering in a fallen world. Every day we are to live in way that demonstrates to everyone that we have died to ourselves, our selfish ways and ambitions, and seek to live for God. It means breaking old selfish habits and ways of thinking, as we allow God to renew us by His Spirit.