Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
Jesus begins these rather apocalyptic remarks by telling the disciples that these things are not to be discussed with others; these things are being said in confidence. Then He proceeds to tell them that He must be killed.
Yes, He said a lot more than that, but it seems that they didn’t catch the rest, although Luke doesn’t make that as clear as Matthew did in his account.
Jesus also tells them that He will rise from the grave on the third day.
The rest of this (9:23-27) is Jesus telling them that in order for them to truly follow Him, they must give up everything else. For the most part, they had already done this, at least in an earthly sense. They had left their homes, their families and their livelihoods already…
…but Jesus needed more than that: They must give up “self”.
To follow Him means that the follower must set aside his or her old way of doing things; everyone gets that part, even though we all struggle with it from time-to-time. Yet to give up self goes way beyond that, it is to give up our own personal identity and take up His, and not all that many of us even can comprehend that.
Of course, to be remade into His likeness means that my likeness must go!
At the end of this is a sort of “sweetener” when He tells them that some of them will live to see the Kingdom of God come to fruition.
What I’ve just given you here is a mere thumbnail, so if you find any of this confusing or troubling, don’t feel bad, you are experiencing the very same reaction that the disciples had. As they continued along the journey with Jesus, He begins to show them the contrast between a true follower and the life of this world, and we’ll be right there with all of them as we continue in Luke’s story.