“Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of Him when He comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.'” – Luke 9:23-26
I find it interesting that Christ had not yet been crucified when He said, “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” How do we make sense of that? For a first century Jewish man living in a land occupied by Rome, it would not be unusual to see condemned men carrying their cross to their execution site. He used this image to explain the high expectations He had for His disciples’ devotion. He told them what He is telling us now: If you’re going to follow Me, you’ve got to be willing to die for me.”
So I ask myself this question, “Bryant, am I willing?” When Jesus gives this challenge, I think about how weak I am. I think about how cowardly, selfish, and sinful I am. And I think about Christian martyrs today, knowing that there is more persecution of Christians going on right now than there has been in all of history. I think about people living in that situation and I wonder, would I be willing to go through torture for Christ? Would I be willing to give my life for Christ? I surely hope so.
If you call yourself a Christian, what about you?