Written by: Pastor Kay Johnson
During this Lent we have been talking about the reasons we follow Jesus. Let’s be honest: we get something from following this man. We learn things like compassion, forgiveness, generosity, hope. We feel things like companionship and community, guidance and love. We grow from worldly weakness to heavenly strength.
But not everything Jesus had to say was comforting. Jesus also had difficult words to say to us. This week we are looking at Luke 9:18-25:
One day Jesus was praying alone. Only his disciples were with him. He asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. Still others say that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
“but what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
Jesus strongly warned them not to tell this to anyone. He said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things. The elders will not accept him. The chief priests and the teachers of the law will not accept him either. He must be killed and on the third day rise from the dead.”
Then he said to all of them, “Whoever wants to follow me must say no to themselves. They must pick up their cross every day and follow me. Whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it if someone gains the whole world but loses or gives up their very self?”
Just prior to this exchange Jesus fed 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. The disciples were understandably confused by the sequence of events. First, Jesus does a very public miracle with the loaves and fishes. Then, he turns right around and proclaims his death and resurrection. Further, he tells the disciples that the only way to keep their life is to lose it – give it up – for his sake. Challenging and demanding words.
Read the passage again and ask yourself the following questions:
- What does taking up your own cross daily mean to you?
- Have you ever known someone who modeled this for you?
- How is Jesus’ admonition to take up your own cross daily and follow him Good News?
- Is everything Jesus said Good News? If so, why? If not, why not?
Please comment below with any thoughts you want to share.