Tag: withdraw to a lonely place
Scripture reading for March 31st: Luke 9:7-27
As Jesus was alone with His disciples, He asked them who they though 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 made them ponder who He really was and their conclusion determined if they were 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 was daily denying His ‘self’ in order to follow His Father’s instructions. For Him to enjoy resurrection, He must be willing to lose His life. His followers must willingly do the same, by giving up seeking to gain the world and instead going for God’s approval. This choice would eventually involve martyrdom for each of these disciples except John! (and Judas)
Jesus’ crucifixion would involve shame and great fear of being identified with Him. Jesus told them of their need for faith in Him to continue after the crucifixion and resurrection. The end result would be eternal recognition when Jesus returned! The willingness to lose life would bring great gain!
As we read these words of Jesus, we also ponder what it means to lose our life to gain it. What does taking up our cross daily look like? Are we ever ashamed to be associated with Jesus?