Forsaking everything for the sake of following Christ
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. Luke 9:23-26
From the text, the Lord Jesus Christ was addressing the crowd that was following Him. They were captivated to see the miracles that Jesus was doing. Now, he turned to them and He was asking if they were there just for the show of His power. The healings, feeding, and miracles He was doing were for the manifestation of His authority as He proclaims the Kingdom of God. All these signs and wonders were not the primary purpose of His coming. All the things He was doing while He was on earth will culminate in His death on the cross. His death on the cross was the heinous punishment given to a criminal. He was not calling those who would be followers to wear the cross, have the cross as an important piece of art in a museum, or a massive center piece in a religious building. He wants those who will declare their commitment to Him to bear the cross. It means self-denial. It is to quit from pleasing oneself as the primary motivation in life. It means focusing on Christ and the relationship He provides. It means finding out daily how you would live your life pleasing Him. In the process of bearing your cross, you might be rejected, misunderstood, and experience pain. But just like what Christ promised, this transformation in lifestyle will lead you to find life. Life in Christ, bearing His cross is not about self-protection or self-advancement. Just like Christ, it is advancing His reign not only in our hearts but to others as well. The world around us works for profit and personal gains but what matters to those that committed their lives to God is to stand up for their faith and will not be afraid to be identified as His followers. To be His follower means to try by His grace to become like Him in many ways. Just like the crowd that the Lord Jesus Christ addressed from the text, you can choose to continue to follow your ways or you can choose to take what He offers, “turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. When you choose His way, you will not be disappointed. “Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:48-50).
Noel De Guzman
New sermon upload at YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSPDrqCW0MA