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The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16:22, tells us, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."
The cost of discipleship cannot be avoided or toned down or filtered or softened. God knows we are all tempted to make a dash for cheap grace, to skirt the real issue of cross-bearing. But, we cannot ignore the message in today’s Scripture, plain to be seen — "whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."
Jesus - Direction - Popularity - Miracle - Transfiguration
Jesus was concerned about the troubling direction of his popularity. Following the extraordinary miracle of the Transfiguration, the confidence of his followers, especially Peter, was boundless. They saw his star rising and they expected to rise with him too. They had everything to gain and nothing to lose by following such a miracle-worker. This, they thought, was the dream of dreams; the good and wonderful life at its best.
Is it any wonder that Peter would hear nothing of Jesus’s suffering and death at the hands of the chief priests and scribes? "God forbid," Peter cried, "No such thing shall ever happen to you." And, what was Jesus response? "Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do," (Matthew 16:23).
Jesus - Disciples - James - John - Mother
Two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, who were spurred on by their mother, thought differently at the beginning of thei ministry, and asked Jesus if they could expect to be rewarded by juicy promotions in his kingdom. Jesus rejected this notion of careerism in his kingdom, insisting that his disciples must deny themselves and follow him. No room for career promotions in the Lord’s kingdom; only a life...
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