Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Cross-The Cost of Discipleship
“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”
In today’s world, success is mostly measured by numbers. Thousands and thousands of people were following Jesus, probably attracted by his miracles and wonders. However, Jesus was not concerned with numbers. He knew that among these multitudes were spectators, superficial followers and true believers. It is at this point he makes this radical statement in (V.26-27).
You cannot be a disciple of Jesus until you:
Hate your family, yourself and your possessions: The word “hatred” is not used to signify animosity. Instead it specifies the priority or preference we give to these over our love for God, His Word and His Kingdom. Do our friends and family pose a hindrance to our spiritual growth? Are we constantly seeking to gain acceptance from others? Is our hunger for power, popularity and prestige swallowing the time we should be spending with our Master? Are my constant obsessions with “things” preventing me from developing a fruitful relationship with Christ? Christ should the top most priority in our lives and this will cost you relationships, time and energy.
Carry your cross daily: Today crosses come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a popular fashion statement adorning necks and walls. In Jesus’ time the cross was symbol of suffering, torture and slow death. Some interpret the “cross in our lives” as the burden we must carry like a broken relationship, an unpleasant job, a sickness. Instead, the act of carrying the cross is an act of total submission or “dying to self”. We identify ourselves with Christ who died on the cross pouring out himself as a fragrant offering to God. At the cross we crucify our selfish ambitions, egos and selfishness.
Follow Jesus: Before one decides to follow Jesus, he/she must take time to contemplate on the costs and consequences of discipleship. This is explained with the two parables – building and battling. Christian life is not a low-cost low-risk option. When you make the decision to follow Jesus, it is a personal decision. Of course, you might have been supported or guided by your family, friends, pastor or even a stranger. The builder in the parable would have had to access to resources and people to build the tower. Likewise, the king would have been supported by his army. However, in both cases, the builder and the king are responsible for their decisions. In the same way, you are the fully responsible for making the decision to accept or reject Christ.
True discipleship has a cost and it requires total commitment. If we make a hasty decision, we might make a mockery of ourselves like the incomplete tower or the king who loses the battle.
Prayer: O Lord, empower us to respond to the call of Jesus – to deny ourselves, to take up our crosses, and to follow.
Thought for the day: “To truly follow Jesus Christ, we must consider the cost and put Him above everything else.”
Abin Varghis, St James Mar Thoma Church, LondonA