Jesus is completely honest.  There is the almost startling honesty of Jesus. No one could ever say that he followed Jesus under false pretenses. Jesus never tried to bribe men by the offer of an easy way. He did not offer men peace; He offered them glory. To tell a man that he must be ready to take up a cross was to tell him that he must be ready to be regarded as a criminal and to die. The honesty of the great leaders has always been one of their great characteristics. In the days of the Second World War, when Sir Winston Churchill took over the leadership of the country, all that he offered men was “blood, sweat and tears.” After the siege of Rome in 1849, Garibaldi, the great Italian patriot, made the famous proclamation: “Soldiers, all our efforts against superior forces have been unavailing. I have nothing to offer you but hunger and thirst, hardship and death; but I call on all who love their country to join with me.” –William Barclay

       Jesus has already done what He asks of us There is the fact that Jesus never called upon men to do or face anything which He was not prepared to do and face Himself. That indeed is the characteristic of the leader whom men will follow. There was a famous Roman general, Quintus Fabius Cunctator. He was discussing with his staff how to take a difficult position. Someone suggested a certain course of action to capture it. “It will only cost the lives of a few men,” this counselor said. Fabius looked at him. “Are you,” he said “willing to be one of the few?” Jesus was not the kind of leader who sat remote and played with the lives of men like expendable pawns. What He demanded that they should face, He, too, was ready to face. Jesus had a right to call on us to take up a cross, for He, Himself, first bore one. –William Barclay

       We must deny ourselves. Jesus said of the man who would be His disciple, “Let him deny himself.” We will understand the meaning of this demand best if we take it very simply and very literally. “Let him say no to himself.” If a man will follow Jesus Christ he must ever say no to himself and yes to Christ. He must say no to his own natural love of ease and comfort. He must say no to every course of action which is based on self-seeking and self-will. He must say no to the instincts and the desires which prompt him to touch and taste and handle the forbidden things. He must unhesitatingly say yes to the voice and the command of Jesus Christ. He must be able to say with Paul that it is no longer he who lives but Christ who lives in him. He lives no longer to follow his own will, but to follow the will of Christ, and, in that service, he finds his perfect freedom. –William Barclay