A Call to Die (Matthew 16; Mark 8; Luke 9:18-27)

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:35)

Sometimes we make the way of following Jesus far too easy.  It was an amazing moment when Jesus was meeting with His disciples, and He questioned them, “Who do you say I am?”  Peter impulsively gave the right answer: “You’re the Christ.”  Jesus celebrated the response and praised Peter for his unnatural insight.  But while Peter understood that Jesus was the Christ, he failed to understand what that actually meant.

Up to that point in time, Jesus had been thought to be a political messiah, come to dethrone the Romans and to give political clout to the Jews once again.  Jesus shattered that notion when He informed the disciples of His impending death.  Naturally, they shrunk back at such a suggestion: Jesus wasn’t supposed to die; He was supposed to be a king.  They weren’t supposed to be giving up their lives; they were supposed to be overthrowing Roman rule.  They still didn’t understand.

Sometimes I wonder if we understand, either.  After all, our pictures of Jesus have him tending sheep and letting little children sit on His lap.  How could such a person be put to death?  Why would God ask Him to die?  The answer is frustratingly simple: there was no other way to reconcile the sins of man than to offer to a perfect, blood sacrifice.  Jesus came to earth with really one main purpose: to die.  And when He did that, He positioned Himself not to be a king of nations but to be a king of hearts.

Jesus’ call was a call to die, and He fulfilled it with joy because He understood what His sacrifice enabled for all of us: reconciliation with our Father in heaven.  But here’s the thing: when Jesus invites us to follow Him, He’s actually inviting us to die, too.  We’re invited to give up our very selves for this Messiah who gave up Himself for the sins of the world.

Are you ready to give it all up?  Your will?  Your way?  Your heart?  Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Jesus and for the sake of the Gospel will save it.

Father, help me to cling more to You than to anything else.  Help me to recognize the absolute value of giving my life fully in surrender to You.  Let me holding nothing back; take it all!

About Seth

Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.

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