Lessons from Jesus

The Cost

Luke 9:23 – And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

When we think of the cross, we think of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice, but what did those listening at the time think of? It was not unlikely that some among them had relatives or friends who had been crucified by the Roman Governor Varus. Following an uprising (lead in part by Judas the Zealot) in Galilee and Judea, around 4BC, the Romans called in the help of Varus, who arrived with two legions of soldiers. He quelled the revolt, crucified approximately 2000 Jews and lined the roads of Galilee with the crosses as a warning. The cross was a symbol of horrific punishment and death.

Picture that as you listen to Jesus say, “whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt 1038). The Zealots would go to any lengths to maintain the integrity of the Jewish nation against Roman paganism. In denying oneself, you had to be willing to abandon all personal safeguards. There was a cost in following Jesus and in AD27 that would have been all too clear. It took true faith to believe that Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah and it took true commitment to follow His teaching.

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed.” I am committed to Jesus Christ as Lord and I am not ashamed for anyone to know that, but then, I am not living in fear of persecution and torture. Back then it was hard enough being a Jew but to be a Jewish follower of Rabbi Jesus meant that you were literally living with a target on your back. Their commitment though, was fuelled by the hope of His promise that, “everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God.”

Being willing to relinquish the temporal things of earth, even one’s own life, for the eternal glories of God’s Kingdom is the definition of a true disciple of Jesus.

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