Sampson Kasapakis is a recent graduate of the Masters of Divinity Program at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He currently works at the Orthodox Christian Network as the Parish Relations Coordinator and at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Fort Lauderdale, FL as the Youth Director.
16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us [a] make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
What it means to take up our Cross:
-Today and every day are called to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow a life towards Christ.
-When we look at the literal definition of denying oneself, it is defined as a refrain from satisfying one’s desires and needs.
-One of the early Church Fathers, Caesarea of Arles, says, “Just as we are lost through loving ourselves, so we are found by denying ourselves.”
-Looking at the Greek text, the words that are used for taking up our cross are “ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ.” Aράτω can mean to take up or away, but what is more interesting is that it is similar to the Hebrew word nasa’ which means to expiate sin, remove sin.
The Meaning of the Transfiguration of our Lord:
-It was a lesson for the disciples about who Jesus was.
-The Transfiguration occurred to show the true authority of Jesus Christ.
-It confirmed that the Kingdom of the Messiah would be characterized by glory.
-It is the key to understanding the Cross of Jesus and His commitment to it.
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