May 21

Text: Matthew 16:24

 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (NASB)

What does it cost to be a Christian?  That depends on where you live.  In regions similar to Sudan, perhaps the cost is mutilation or death.  In communist regions, perhaps the cost is imprisonment or denial of jobs.  In some regions controlled by Moslems, perhaps it is the promise not to distribute Bibles or share the Christian religion.  In some places, the cost is the agreement never to oppose the state religion.  In the U.S.A., perhaps the cost is inconvenience, rejection because “your ideas are ridiculous,” or no opposition at all.  Truly, the resistance to Christianity literally depends on where we live.

Jesus told his disciples to anticipate acute opposition!  The common Israelite dream was that the coming of the Christ would produce peace and prominence for them.  Is it not interesting that today many Christians tend to believe Jesus Christ will bring physical protection, physical blessings, and physical prosperity for us?  That concept often becomes “the pitch” and “the justification” given to non-Christians for their consideration in converting to the Christian commitment.

Jesus was headed toward execution!  The cross represented the most painful, fearful, inhumane method of Roman execution.  No one wanted anything to do with crosses!  What if a mistake was made about who the crucifixion victim was?   Conventional wisdom said, “Stay away from crosses!”

Jesus said, “I am headed toward my cross.  You want to be my disciple?  Pick up your cross and follow me.”  Place that statement in context.  Was the reward of recognizing Jesus as the Christ a cross?

Jesus’ call was NOT to a lifestyle of physical ease.  Following Jesus could result in a lifestyle that produced anything but physical ease.

Suggestion for reflection: What does following Jesus cost you?  (Read Hebrews 12:1-13.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell