Telling Others about Christ
32If you tell others you belong to me, I will tell my Father in heaven you are my followers. 33 But if you reject me, I will tell my Father in heaven you don't belong to me.
Not Peace, but Trouble
(Luke 12.51-53; 14.26,27)
34Don't think I came to bring peace to the earth! I came to bring trouble, not peace. 35 I came to turn sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. 36Your worst enemies will be in your own family.
37 If you love your father or mother or even your sons and daughters more than me, you are not fit to be my disciples. 38 And unless you are willing to take up your cross and follow me, you are not fit to be my disciples. 39 If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will surely find it.
40 Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me also welcomes the one who sent me. 41Anyone who welcomes a prophet, just because that person is a prophet, will be given the same reward as a prophet. Anyone who welcomes a good person, just because that person is good, will be given the same reward as a good person. 42And anyone who gives one of my most humble followers a cup of cool water, just because that person is my follower, will be rewarded.
Most of us have not-so-fond memories of some authority figure sitting us down to explain “the way it is.” We’d rather live in our own fantasy than in what we see as someone else’s reality, but Jesus has unique authority when he speaks of reality. Before he sent his disciples out on their first ministry assignment, he gave them (and us) a reality check. Some of what he told his disciples doesn’t fit well with the fantasies by which people prefer to live.
The first thing Jesus established was the importance of belonging to him – being a follower. If you try to be a Christian while disassociating yourself from Jesus, the word in heaven is that you aren’t one.
Then, he said that being his follower will sometimes put us out of step with our own families, not to mention the broader community. To underscore what is at stake, he said that if we give our relationships with family members higher priority than our relationship with him we are not fit to be his disciples.
Jesus went on to say, “unless you are willing to take up your cross and come with me, you are not fit to be my disciples.” However you understand the phrase “to take up your cross,” it suggests sacrifice – death to self. If we try to preserve our own dreams and goals, we’ll lose everything. But if we give them up, we will get the life God has prepared for us, both here and in eternity.
Jesus closed with an encouraging word about rewards. When anyone takes him seriously, he takes them seriously. Even a refreshing cup of water, given in Jesus’ name, will be rewarded. We can’t even imagine what he has prepared for those who give up their lives for him.
Lord Jesus, I confess I’m overwhelmed by the fact that you laid down your life for me and call me to lay down mine for you. So many things in this life are important to me. Today, I covenant with you to put you first as I make decisions, small and large. In your own name, may it be so.