Being and becoming a follower of the Messiah, according to Mark 8, is to deny self and take up a cross. This does not mean to be a zero, nobody, or nothing, but to set aside self-centered interests, especially with regard to our own messianic ideologies. To do so is cross taking and following Jesus. Self-denial then is denying a particular self – a self-consumed self, a self-sufficient self, a selfish self, which all amount to a false self. Not sure there is anything more radical than this. Breathtaking! Appropriate self-denial makes sense and has the ring of truth, as opposed to the deception that we so often see in the contemporary context, which suggests that a total refusal of self is necessary for Messiah following. On the contrary, God actually wants truer selves to show up and be accounted for.