Mark 8:34 states, “And He (Jesus) summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Upon careful examination, one must first take note Who is summoning whom. Jesus is the One speaking and He is summoning two groups of people, namely: the multitudes and His disciples. The word “summoning” is the Greek word, prokaleo, which means to “call to oneself.” Interestingly, the verb “summon” is in the passive voice which means that the subject, (Jesus) is being acted upon. In other words, the Father is the Initiator and He is summoning or calling man to Himself through His Son, Jesus.
Next, one must consider the question Jesus is asking. He states, “If anyone wishes to come after Me…” The word “wishes” is the Greek word, thelo, which means, “to will, to desire.” This word involves the active volition of the one who is given the option to choose. Jesus is basically giving the crowd and the disciples a choice. The choice will involve Lordship. They may either choose Jesus to be their Lord or they will be the Lord of their own lives, which in reality and by default, is choosing the enemy who is called the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31).
And lastly, one must consider the cost of the question being considered. What will it cost the multitudes and His disciples? Jesus expounds that the cost will involve their willingness to do three things, specifically: 1) deny themselves; 2) take up their cross; and 3) follow Him.
In the next article, the three conditions of discipleship will be expounded. In the meantime, one must consider the fact that Jesus is summoning or calling the world to Himself. The request is for “anyone who wishes…” What is your desire?