It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

22 January 2011

Following Jesus Requires Sacrifice – pt. 5

12:56 PM Posted by steve flores , , No comments

[Matthew 16:21-26] That’s pretty heavy stuff to take in, so let’s take it bit by bit.  Deny yourself: to not satisfy your desires or needs. Take up your cross: At the time when Jesus said this, the cross was developed by the Romans to mean death by the most painful, humiliating way. The Romans would make their criminals carry their own cross to the crucifixion site.  So, people used to carry their own execution device to where they were going to die, while being called horrible names, spat upon, and ridiculed along the way.  It was humiliating, shameful, and a form of torture.  When Jesus said, “take up your cross” He meant, it will not be easy, you will face difficult times, sacrificial times. Picture it like a math equation: 

Denying self + taking up cross = following Jesus

In order to follow Jesus, you have to do both.  It takes sacrifice to follow and without sacrifice we have to question our motives why we follow Jesus, or if we do at all.  Following Jesus can’t be about ME; it must always be about HIM and OTHERS.  That’s why Jesus said, whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”  It’s sacrificial.  For some of you it may be literal.  I have to come to grips with the fact that it might even be literal for me.  It’s a scary thought, I know, but I’ll tell you, you aren’t willing to give your life for something that you don’t believe in.  Give your life for your parents? Your siblings?  Absolutely.  Jesus?  Eh.  For those of you who don’t believe, this is crazy talk.  For Anila and Perveen (17 and 18 years old ) of Pakistan, in 1997, it was their reality. 

(to be continued…)