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Luke 9:23-27

Context
A Call to Discipleship

9:23 Then 1  he said to them all, 2  “If anyone wants to become my follower, 3  he must deny 4  himself, take up his cross daily, 5  and follow me. 9:24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, 6  but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 9:25 For what does it benefit a person 7  if he gains the whole world but loses or forfeits himself? 9:26 For whoever is ashamed 8  of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person 9  when he comes in his glory and in the glory 10  of the Father and of the holy angels. 9:27 But I tell you most certainly, 11  there are some standing here who will not 12  experience 13  death before they see the kingdom of God.” 14 

1 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

2 sn Here them all could be limited to the disciples, since Jesus was alone with them in v. 18. It could also be that by this time the crowd had followed and found him, and he addressed them, or this could be construed as a separate occasion from the discussion with the disciples in 9:18-22. The cost of discipleship is something Jesus was willing to tell both insiders and outsiders about. The rejection he felt would also fall on his followers.

3 tn Grk “to come after me.”

4 tn This translation better expresses the force of the Greek third person imperative than the traditional “let him deny,” which could be understood as merely permissive.

5 sn Only Luke mentions taking up one’s cross daily. To bear the cross means to accept the rejection of the world for turning to Jesus and following him. Discipleship involves a death that is like a crucifixion; see Gal 6:14.

6 sn The point of the saying whoever wants to save his life will lose it is that if one comes to Jesus then rejection by many will certainly follow. If self-protection is a key motivation, then one will not respond to Jesus and will not be saved. One who is willing to risk rejection will respond and find true life.

7 tn Grk “a man,” but ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used in a generic sense here to refer to both men and women.

8 sn How one responds now to Jesus and his teaching is a reflection of how Jesus, as the Son of Man who judges, will respond then in the final judgment.

9 tn This pronoun (τοῦτον, touton) is in emphatic position in its own clause in the Greek text: “of that person the Son of Man will be ashamed…”

10 tn Grk “in the glory of him and of the Father and of the holy angels.” “Glory” is repeated here in the translation for clarity and smoothness because the literal phrase is unacceptably awkward in contemporary English.

11 tn Grk “I tell you truly” (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ἀληθῶς, legw de Jumin alhqw").

12 tn The Greek negative here (οὐ μή, ou mh) is the strongest possible.

13 tn Grk “will not taste.” Here the Greek verb does not mean “sample a small amount” (as a typical English reader might infer from the word “taste”), but “experience something cognitively or emotionally; come to know something” (cf. BDAG 195 s.v. γεύομαι 2).

14 sn The meaning of the statement that some will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God is clear at one level, harder at another. Jesus predicts some will experience the kingdom before they die. When does this happen? (1) An initial fulfillment is the next event, the transfiguration. (2) It is also possible in Luke’s understanding that all but Judas experience the initial fulfillment of the coming of God’s presence and rule in the work of Acts 2. In either case, the “kingdom of God” referred to here would be the initial rather than the final phase.



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