Not What They Wanted
Eternal Father, in You and Your Word are all the treasures of wisdom, truth, and holiness. How great You are.
Read Luke 9:18-27
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Make a list for yourself of the ways in which being a Christian has made your life harder. In one sentence, write down how you feel about this.
The disciples must have been deeply shocked by Jesus’ description of discipleship in vs. 23-25. That was not what they anticipated, as they came back glowing from their campaign with tales of healings and deliverance (10). Clearly, a life of power and glory beckoned, with powers like these at their fingertips (see vs. 1,2). So why is Jesus suddenly talking about rejection and crosses?
Let’s be clear about the picture in v. 23. The disciples, like all the inhabitants of Galilee, had often seen it: a posse of Roman soldiers leading a condemned man whose last act is to carry his own cross to the place of execution. That’s the picture that Jesus applies to discipleship! His followers have no future of their own. It’s over, given away to the one who leads them and who exercises total direction over them. Following him, they have to give away the world, not gain it (25), and give away their lives, not save them (24). In fact, they have to go the way of Jesus himself, who is facing suffering, rejection and death from the authorities, even though the people think so highly of him (22). In Matthew and Mark, Peter objects at this point: it makes no sense to think of God’s anointed one being rejected and executed! Nor to think that his followers will experience the same fate, when they have such wonderful Kingdom powers.
Well, we know the truth. Following Jesus means stepping out of our culture, living by a different light, being willing to associate with the world’s rejects rather than its favorites–in many ways, becoming rejects ourselves. Are we up for that? Jesus goes before us on that way.
Come back to the list you made as preparation today. Offer it, and your feelings about it, to the Lord in prayer, and deliberately take up the cross for today.
Father, I am aware that something wonderful was done for me on the cross. I am also aware that something exacting is demanded of me by the cross. Grant me Your strength and courage.
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