“What Jesus Demands From The World” – Daily Devotional (6/09/10): Demand #8 “Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me”

Luke 9:57-62

57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family.”

62Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 16:24-26

24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

One of the things that has always astounded me about Jesus’ various commands to those who follow him is the command for them to “take up their cross”.  It’s important to maintain perspective on this command.  This command is noted in Matthew, Mark, and Luke; with it taking place well before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.  He hadn’t carried his cross yet.  Although Jesus had told his disciples about his plan to give his life for the sins of the people, they didn’t really believe it.  I can imagine their comments to one another after hearing this, “Wow…. Jesus really is deep, isn’t he?  He uses metaphors about dying, sacrifice, and giving up his life.  I’m sure glad he doesn’t mean it.”

But Jesus did mean it in his life and he means it in ours.  When he commands us to deny our own self-will, to endure hardship that is “cross-like” and to follow him…. it can often be as difficult as it sounds.  There isn’t much metaphor in it at all.  We can try to minimize it or dress it up however we wish.   The reality of Jesus’ command to his first followers is that his commands are still in effect.  When Christians and churches make positive impacts on their world, it is because they are willing to sacrifice their own plans/desires and to allow Jesus to have executive control over their lives.  In Jesus’ time, if you were a follower of a rabbi or teacher, you would literally follow him.  You would go where he goes, eat what he eats, travel with him.  You would put your life on hold and go wherever your Master would lead you.

The old Facebook function that allowed you to “Become a Fan” of various causes/sayings/celebrities comes to my mind.  I can become a “fan” of curing cancer, honoring Veterans, or planting trees…… just with the click of a button.  This doesn’t require anything else of  me.  I can “click” and then go about life as usual.  Unlike Twitter, the only way to Follow Jesus… is to live life with him.  Day by day, moment by moment.  He has a mission to redeem this world.  Jesus wants us to follow him out of our comfort and into a world that needs the hope that only he can give.  To ourselves, will we say “no”?  To follow Jesus, will we now “go”?

***  Please check out the video “Follow You” by Leeland and Brandon Heath, which is linked in my Vodpod collection on this page, and resolve to follow Jesus out into your world!

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on June 9, 2010 at 2:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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