Lose it all and save your life!
Scripture reading for March 31st: Luke 9:7-27
As Jesus was alone with His disciples, He asked them who they believed He was. Peter spoke up, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:20) This confession brought a warning from Jesus about His coming suffering, crucifixion and resurrection. Being the Christ of God would lead to some difficult experiences and it would also not be easy for His followers! They would have to make a conscious commitment and really know who He was.
Jesus had some very difficult instructions for those that would follow Him as disciples. Some of His instructions caused them to examine if they were truly willing to follow Him. “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-26)
First, His followers must learn to deny themselves and their way of thinking. The world puts ‘self’ first, but Jesus and His followers put God and His will first. This choice is taken, even when it leads to a daily cross! Jesus denied His ‘self” daily in order to follow His Father’s instructions. For Him to experience resurrection, He must be willing to lose His life. His followers must willingly do the same, giving up seeking to gain the world and going for God’s approval instead. This choice would eventually involve martyrdom for each of the disciples except John! (and Judas)
Jesus’ crucifixion would involve shame and great fear of being identified with Him. It would require great faith in Him to continue His work after the crucifixion and resurrection, but the end result would be eternal reward when Jesus returned! As we read this teaching of Jesus, we must consider what it means to lose our life to gain it. Are we willing to lose our plans, possessions, and even possibly our life to serve and follow Jesus? The rewards are eternal for those who willingly chose Christ and take up a cross!