The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus Christ calls us to Follow Him (Mark 8:34-38)
The first thing you’ll notice about Jesus’ call in verse 34 is that he gathers both the crowds– those who are still investigating His claims– and the disciples– those who have already publically attached themselves to Jesus. These relative veterans, we suppose, need to hear the same call as those who are just beginning to investigate Christ. Whoever follows Christ continues to live off of the gospel.
First, the gospel is the good news that Christ is calling you to deny yourself. It is a call to a new identity. We naturally get our identities from our families or our nationalities, our popularity, our careers, etc. As philosopher Michel Fouchald says, we try to find a self. But Christ calls us to find our identity in Him. Deitrich Bonhoeffer concludes one of his prison poems: “Who am I? They haunt me, these lonely words of mine. Whoever I am, O Lord, I know I am thine.”
Then, the gospel is the good news that Jesus calls you to “take up your cross”. It is a call to a new destiny. Following Christ removes the pursuit of comfort and prosperity. The new agenda is “the business of God.” Jesus is clear: the way of discipleship is the way of the cross.Your life is now as urgent as the man who will die at sundown. The freedom, humility and love in Christ that results will constantly conflict with people and systems around you.(see John 15). Take up your cross. Display with your life the person and work of Jesus Christ. You are now a person with an urgent destiny.
The gospel is finally the good news that Jesus calls you to follow Him. It is a call to a new delight. The further you follow Christ two things will happen:
i. You will see your sin as worse, deeper and bigger
ii. You will see more and more of Christ’s holiness, humility, love and greatness. Your delight in Him and in following Him will grow.
C.S. Lewis sums up the message of Christ’s call to discipleship in his book, Mere Christianity: “Look for yourself, and you’ll find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. Look for Christ and you’ll find him and with him everything else thrown in.”