Treasure of a True Disciple | Mark 8:35–38
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Last time, we began looking at the marks of a true disciple. Today, we’re faced with a paradox—saving one’s life comes in losing it, but specifically, for the sake of the gospel. Professing Christians sometimes grow embarrassed about Jesus and would rather follow their own passions, but here, Jesus shows us that the true disciple holds His gospel words dear.
A true disciple isn’t ashamed of the gospel. Jesus specifically addresses two, overlapping categories: those who pursue their own interests, and those who experience shame over Him. This wide range spans pleasure-seeking pagans to professing believers who deny Him to save themselves, who won’t carry their cross publicly (v. 34). Perhaps when the fear of man outweighs the fear of God, but this is a warning sign of false discipleship.
A true disciple treasures the gospel. He’ll treasure the gospel above all this world has to offer or can threaten. As an example, Paul lost his position as a Pharisee for the sake of Christ, counting all the accomplishments of his former life as rubbish compared the worth of knowing Christ (Phili 3:4–8).
Christ isn’t saying that only through ridicule and martyrdom for His sake shall a person be saved (cf. Eph 2:8–9; Ti 3:5–7). It’s a question of where your heart is. Those who focus solely on what is beneficial for them will not have their lives saved in the end. They may find that that they gain what they want, only to find that their souls are required of them, such as in the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:16–21. Repent and seek that heavenly, incorruptible treasure that can’t be stolen (Mt 6:19–21).