Main point summary
In following Jesus you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily. And remember, there's a lot at stake. Following Jesus is for your good.
Ἔλεγεν δὲ πρὸς πάντας· Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ⸂ ἔρχεσθαι,
And he said to all, "If anyone wishes to follow after me,
ἀρνησάσθω ⸃ ἑαυτὸν
he must deny himself
καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ
and must take up his cross
⸂ καθ’ ἡμέραν ⸃ ,
καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι.
(then) in following me..
ὃς γὰρ ⸀ ἂν θέλῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ σῶσαι,
For (on the one hand) (if) anyone wishes to save his life
(Then) he will lose it
ὃς δ’ ἂν ἀπολέσῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ
(but on the other hand) (if) anyone loses his life
for the sake of me
οὗτος σώσει αὐτήν.
(Then) he will save it
τί γὰρ ὠφελεῖται ἄνθρωπος κερδήσας τὸν κόσμον ὅλον ἑαυτὸν δὲ ἀπολέσας ἢ ζημιωθείς;
For a man profits nothing if he gains the whole world but loses and forfeits himself.
How does 9:24 support/ground 9:23? And how is 9:25 related to 9:24 and 9:23? It is for your good, for your benefit, to deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow Christ. Or negatively, you profit nothing if you gain the world and yet lose yourself.
"The tense sequence (two aorist imperatives followed by a present imperative) shows that fundamental decisions made about the self and about day by day bearing of the cross emerge in a continual following of Jesus. In other words, the last act emerges from the others." (Bock, 852)
"This verse  is the explanation of the previous images" (Bock, 854). "One might be inclined to court acceptance with the world by distancing oneself from Jesus, but such distancing is disaster. One might seek to save one's life by surrounding it with the comforts and projections of life, but this too is dangerous.... the point is that life's comforts and the thereat of losing them might keep one from coming to Jesus. If one gives up life for the sake of Jesus, if one gives one's spiritual and physical welfare over to him, the that one will receive life. In fact, life will be saved" (Bock, 854). "By 'life' here Jesus doesn't mean our physical existence or our soul, but our self. The psyche is the ego, the human personality which thinks, feels, plans sand chooses... our will is indeed submitted to Christ's will, but our personality is not absorbed into Christ's personality" (Stott)
"The disciple's life consists of basic self-denial. Luke 9:24 will reinforce the point made here: to gain life one must give it up. The language is eschatological and relates directly to faith. The essence of saving trust in God is self-denial, a recognition that he must save because disciples cannot save themselves, that life must be given over into God's care and protection. Disciple's do not respond to their own personal wills, but to God's" (Bock, 852). It seems like this happens both at salvation and at present. In salvation we are saying I can't save myself. I'm a sinner deserving death. I turn to Jesus. Please save me! And at present, we still struggle with sin. We need to constantly deny self and return back to God. "Self-denial is not about just giving up occasional luxuries, either temporarily or even for good. It isn't a matter of denying things to myself, but of denying myself to myself. It is to say 'no' to self, and 'yes' to Christ; to demote self and give first place to Christ" (Stott, Loc 1775)
There are over a dozen views on what cross bearing means (Bock, 852). Everyone agrees the "background of the image is clearly a Roman picture of a criminal sentenced to die for a heinous crime... Cross-bearing publicly displayed a person's submission to the state... thus, the fundamental idea is of submitting to the authority of another--in this case God...when tied to following Jesus...disciples are following Jesus, who although innocent will bear the shame of rejection and death (Luke 9:22)" (Bock, 853). "The attitude to self which we are to adopt is that of crucifixion...Every day the Christian is to die. Every day we are to hand over the independence of our own will. Every day we are invited to renew our unconditional surrender to Jesus Christ" (Stott, Loc 1783)
"One can go the route Jesus goes if one recognizes the need to place oneself in God's care and submit to him. Such submission includes a willingness to enter into suffering of rejection... It [to follow Jesus] is to obey him and share in the world's rejection of him" (Bock, 853)
"Jesus describes the risk of not responding to his call. The question is rhetorical and expects the answer, "it profits nothing to gain the whole world only to have lost one's life before God."" (Bock, 855) "The risk is greater in holding on to one's life than in giving it over to God for Jesus' sake...One might think that it is a disadvantage to give up one's life, but in fact the opposite is true: to gain the world means to lose life" (Bock, 855)
Is this a series of three more separate commands? Or is "follow" the main command with "deny" and "take up" further explaining the main command? Or giving the manner in which one follows?
24 and 25 explain what is at stake in following or not following Jesus.
Big Idea & Devotional
In chapters 4–9 of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus has done many miraculous things and gained many followers, some more serious than others. After Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ in Luke 9:20, Jesus then tells his disciples what is coming. Jesus says that he must suffer, be rejected, and killed. After Peter's confession and Jesus's foretelling of his own death, Jesus then says to those around him what is required in following him. One must "deny" self and "take up his cross daily" and follow him. While it's debated what these two terms mean ("deny" and "take up his cross"), I understand them to at least mean that Christ followers must have a whole new reorientation towards self. In sin, our lives revolve around self. We follow our hearts and our feelings. We do what we want. We make much of ourselves. We use others to get what we want. We love praise from others and are crushed by criticism. In sin, it's all about self. But here Jesus requires us to deny self and die to self. Life is not about self but it's all about following Jesus and making much of him. This reorientation takes place at conversion. Praise God that while we were still sinners, consumed with ourselves, Jesus saved us from ourselves and gave us new hearts to love and follow him rather than self. And this reorientation is also an ongoing, "daily" reality that Jesus says we must live. And we do so by God's power in us (Phil 2:12–13). Yes, Jesus requires much in following him, but it's worth it. For it would profit nothing to gain even the whole world and yet lose one's soul (Luke 9:25) So may we be able to say with Paul, "I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 21:24) and may our studies today lead us to present ourselves to God as "living sacrifices."