“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life?” Matthew 16:24-26
For the past three days I have been looking at Matthew 16:13-26 and talking about Jesus’ model of discipleship which is based on two things: invitation and challenge. In verses 24-26 Jesus distills this down to its core essence. His invitation: follow me. His challenge: the cross.
Jesus’ invitation: Follow me. Christianity and discipleship is not an invitation into following and imitating a religion, but following and imitating a person, namely Jesus Christ. Your life is not called to try to conform to and imitate current church models, but it is called to conform to and imitate that of Christ.
Jesus challenge: The cross. To bear the cross means to accept the rejection of the world for turning to Jesus and following him. Discipleship involves a death that is like a crucifixion. The point of the saying "whoever wants to save his life will lose it" is that if one comes to Jesus then rejection by many will certainly follow. If self-protection is a key motivation, then one will not respond to Jesus and will not be saved. One who is willing to risk rejection will respond and find true life.
Jesus’s message today is short and simple, so is my reflection.
Read: Matthew 16:13-26; Galatians 6:12-18; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; Hebrews 12:1-2
Then take time a look at who and what are you following. Is it Jesus plus nothing? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything you added and to help you remove it.
What is challenging you? Is it simply the cross? Have you added any unnecessary challenges or trying to conform to things based on religion, tradition, habit, or culture? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these to you and help you remove them.
Please share your reflections in the comment box below.