Take up my whaaaat?
Today we look at Matt 16:21-28,
"24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must
deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to
save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What
good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or
what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"
Most of us know the cross symbol well, for some it reminds us of people we love, for some, it reminds you of this big art piece on the wall of your childhood church. It's sweet, it's homey, it's a pleasant thing, but the real thing is terrifying.
Carter said the following about the cross: " The cross utilizes a political image of shame, humiliation, pain, social rejection, marginalization, condemnation, and death.
Crucifixion, as employed by Rome, was a cruel means of execution. It was not used for
Roman citizens, but for socio-political marginals such as rebellious foreigners, violent
criminals and robbers, and slaves. Crucifixion in public places was intended to deter non-
complaint behavior. Carrying the cross-beam to the place of execution could be part of the
precrucifixion torture and humiliation. The call to follow Jesus is a call to a life of
marginalization, to identify with the nobodies like slaves, foreigners, criminals, and those
understood to be cursed by God”.
Jesus is challenging us to go where He went and further, taking up your cross is not an easy request. We need to be aware of what it really means
LET'S GET INTO IT
It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question. - Eugene Ionesco
Let's get our thoughts rolling :
What would it cost you?
What would have to change in your life?
What would it ask of you to really follow Him?
Is your life reflecting what you believe?
25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."
Looking at this verse, what does it mean to you? Are you conflicted that you will lose this one thing you have tried so hard to keep? If you lose it either way, what is the purpose behind trying?
WORD INTO ACTION
What is the next step
Let's look at three points
Pointing towards Jesus
First of all, it's most important to make sure whom you follow. If you identify yourself through the language you speak, the culture you identify with, the church you go to, then you point away from Christ, choosing an alternate identity to be called HIS. What parts of yourself do you need to consciously lay down to be God's?
2. Pointing away from ourselves
In the bible we come across the story of the rich young man - check out the story below:
What are the most important things for you? What keeps you pointing towards yourself?
3. Pointing towards others
“Therefore, you have no cause to evade anyone who stands before you
and needs your service. Suppose he's a stranger. The Lord, however, has
stamped him with His own mark that's familiar to you, and for that
reason, God forbids you to despise your own flesh. … Suppose he is
contemptible and worthless. The Lord, however, shows him to be one whom He has condescended to decorate with His own image. … Suppose you owe him nothing for what he's done. But God – to whom you know you are obligated because of His many wonderful benefits to you – puts Himself, as it were, in that person's place. … Suppose he is unworthy of even your smallest labors for his sake.
But the image of God, according to which this person is commended to you, warrants your giving of yourself and your all. Supposing a man not only deserves nothing good
from you, but he has also provoked you with injustices and injuries –
even this is not just cause for you to stop embracing him with affection
and fulfilling your duties of love to him. … We must be sure not to dwell on the wickedness of men, but rather to consider the image of God in them. That image, concealing and obliterating their shortcomings, entices us by its beauty and dignity to love and welcome them.”
How can you practically live these three points? Where are you pointing?
It's okay not to have everything figured out, maybe your life is still a bit messy, disorientated, confusing. Talking about it brings light in our lives and in return to the world around us.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Rowan Williams Being disciples: Essentials of the Christian life (2016):
“Being with the Master is recognizing that who you are, is finally going to be determined by
your relationship with him.”
That's all for this week
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