“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34—38 NIV)


            Jesus called the CROWD to him along with his DISCIPLES and gave them a challenge, saying, “Whoever wants to be my disciples must deny themselves and take up their CROSS and FOLLOW me.   The way of the cross will separate the CROWD and a DISCIPLE.  Crowds are being led by their own personal curiosity.  Crowds follow happenings of their choosing.  Crowds follow whoever comes around, and it doesn’t matter who.  They move and do whatever seems to be happening and desirable to their heart’s content.

            However, a Disciple is different.  A disciple is a follower or a student of a teacher or a leader.  A disciple comes from the Latin word “discipulus,” meaning “learner.”  Here is where the difference comes in.  The crowd does not need to count the cost of being disciplined.  They follow and, most times, without thinking.  They follow the crowd, and it doesn’t cost them anything of eternal value except their wallets.  They don’t have a leader to submit to or learn anything from.

            But a disciple has to submit to his master.   A disciple has to DENY many things the CROWD follows after.  The crowd follows everything the world enticed them to do.  However, a disciple is not someone who wants to gain the whole world and its enticement but to live a life of complete submission to his master.  Thus, Jesus laid a choice before them and the consequences of their choices. 

            Follow the crowd to gain the whole world and lose your soul.  Or be a disciple who is NOT ashamed of Jesus and his word.  The crowd follows the Broadway that everyone else’s chooses.  The disciples follow the narrow way, the disciplined way, and the unpopular way with the world and are not ashamed of his word.  Jesus said the CROWD follows and pursues a world that is adulterous and sinful generation.  But a disciple, a follower, must choose the cross and walk the narrow way.  A disciple must always choose what his master is pleased and most honored by.  To be narrowed-minded means to shut out the crowd mentality to a Christ-led mentality, disciplined and focused on Godly life rather than the worldly life which is adulterous and sinful. 


            I am reminded of this choice daily.  I made up my mind to be a disciple of Jesus and not a follower of the crowd that pursues the world.  I want never to be ashamed of my relationship with Jesus and his word.  I choose to follow him with all of my heart, to learn of him, to be taught by him, and to be led by him.  I do not want to waste my life being someone who follows the crowd.  I have made up my mind to follow Christ. 


            Lord Jesus, thank you for reminding me today of the difference between someone who follows the crowd and who chooses to be your disciple.  Please forgive me for so many times I follow the crowd instead of thinking and living as your disciple.  I look to you to teach me, lead me, and strengthen me to make choices that honor you.  Please help me always to be a learner rather than someone who follows.  I look to you to teach me how to be a disciple that denies myself and desires all of you.  Amen!