Mark hath the same, Mar_8:34, and Luke, Luk_9:23; only Mark saith, when he had called the people unto him with his disciples; Luke saith, he said to them all. He spake it to his disciples, but not privately, but before all the rest of the people, who at that time were present.
If any man will come after me; that is, if any man will be my disciple: so it is expounded by Luk_14:26,27, which is a text much of the same import with this, only what Matthew here calleth a denying of himself, Luke calleth hating. The disciples of others are called the followers of them.
Let him deny himself. To deny ourselves, is to put off our natural affections towards the good things of this life, let them be pleasures, profit, honours, relations, life, or any thing which would keep us from our obedience to the will of God. Thus Christ did: the apostle saith he pleased not himself. I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which sent me, Joh_5:30 4:34,
and take up his cross; willingly and cheerfully bear those trials and afflictions which the providence of God brings him under for owning and standing to his profession, all which come under the name of the cross, with respect to Christ’s cross, on which he suffered.
And follow me: in his taking up the cross he shall but do as I shall do, following my example. Or else this may be looked upon as a third term of Christ’s discipleship, viz. yielding a universal obedience to the commandments of Christ, or living up as near as we can to the example of Christ, 1Pe_1:15. This doctrine our Saviour preacheth to them upon occasion of Peter’s moving him to spare himself, by which he did but indulge his own carnal affection, without respect to the will of God as to what Christ was to suffer for the redemption of mankind.