Year 3 Day 10
Read - Mark 8:34-9:1
Message - Alan Burke
Following Jesus comes at a cost. That may not be surprising for you to hear but there are many times that I have heard people say things that just don’t equate with the words of scripture or they misapply scripture in a way that is just horrendous. We have an eternal hope of a new heaven and a new earth and that when we die believers immediately go to be with our Lord but until then we live in fallen sinful bodies in a fallen sinful world that lies in the power of the evil one (1 Jn 5:19). In the midst of the disciples expectation of a glorious, triumphal Messianic reign that Jesus had just left in tatters telling them he would suffer, be rejected and die he tells them the true cost of discipleship in this world.
Gathering all those who were there, the crowd and the disciples Jesus takes the imagery of crucifixion and applies it to discipleship.What would have happened is that for those who were sentenced to death they would have had to carry the transverse beam to the place of execution, that’s the horizontal beam, the one that your arms would be attached to. Well for those who wish to follow Jesus well you got to pick up your cross, being part of the ranks of those who will suffer, those who are rejected, those who are despised and doomed. And the reason why we are to do this is clear because if we v35 want to save our lives we will loose it.
Remember at the time Isreal was under Roman rule, a ruthless regime, and it was the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law who were conspiring to kill Jesus. From every side, secular Roman rulers and the religious of the day, in the midst of opposition if they wanted to follow Jesus they should take up their cross, walk as those who had a target on their head, carry their noose in their hand, what ever mode of execution. For those who follow Him can expect that this would be the outcome that they would also face, they must be prepared to die for what they believe, be willing to stand for Christ in the midst of life.
Life as a christian today is very different, we do not face the same clear opposition although that day might be coming, but there are for many disciples of Jesus today, that these words resonate within the believer. For to be a follower of Jesus Christ in different parts of this world, to be His disciple may not mean that you carry a cross, but you will simply disappear and death this is what happened when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Not every believer is called to the same kind of suffering, some like Peter will be martyred for their faith, others will live to a ripe old age like John, some of us will know much for the cause of the gospel other will no little but we should not expect that it will be a life of ease as we profess our alliance to Christ as we seek to live according to His word. It may cost us little or it may cost us much, but we will be saved eternally.
We may make attempts to store up for the future, but nothing in this life can ransom our soul, for thats the point. We may think that what we need is everything this world has to offer, car, house, holidays, success , fame, we want ease, we want comfort, what ever it may be on your list, but when we place those things before Christ then it comes at a greater cost. Our bodies the world may kill but for all who trust in Christ alone then they will receive new resurrected bodies, and eternally lives with Him. Christ should come first, our obedience to Him is paramount, even when there is a cost in this life. That may not be something we want to hear but we are call to take up our cross, and it involves a cost, personally, privately, employment, friendship, relationships, there is a cost and the world hates those who are being conformed into the image of Christ and if the world hates us, remember it first hated Christ our Saviour (Jn 15:8).
Q17 Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery. (Rom. 5:12)