To follow Jesus

God’s Son, Jesus, completed His mission here on earth. It meant both suffering and victory. Jesus taught, did good, and He took our sin penalty and died on the cross. On the third day He rose from the dead. He has made it possible for us humans to be reconciled to God.

‭”From that time on, Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day. Then Peter took Him and began rebuking Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord! This shall not happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things that are of God, but those that are of men.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”” Matthew 16:21-24

Even the disciples of Jesus, those who followed Him, did not understand this about Jesus coming to die for the people. Still today, now afterwards, there are many who still have not understood that Jesus gave His life of free will as an atoning sacrifice. What looked like a failure was a mighty victory, but it meant suffering.

Jesus completed His cross and therefore we can now be saved. Jesus saves the people today who repent and believe and in that way He gets to see fruit of His suffering. We who believe in Jesus also have a cross to bear. It is not always easy to be a Christian in this world. Cross speak of suffering and death, but the cross is also a symbol of love and victory. We don’t have to atone for our sins, Jesus has done that on His cross for us, but it is on the way of the cross that you see the power of God.

Jesus told whoever wants to follow Him to deny himself, take up his cross and follow Him.  Here is often the first reaction – ‘What then, take up my cross?’ The disciple Peter, began to rebuke Jesus, when Jesus had told about His death. Jesus then let Peter understand that Peter was influenced by the devil.

Being a Christian means following Jesus, not that Jesus should follow us. But we are so used to always holding on to our rights and finding out about our benefits that we forget our responsibilities and obligations. You who are reading this right now, maybe stop reading here, or…?

This about denying oneself and taking up one’s cross is like a camouflaged strategy. On the outside it looks boring and hard, but once you do it, that’s where you get to experience the truly exciting Christian life. It is the original you want, not some cheap copy and fake of the Christian life.

When you tell Jesus that He can be Lord in your life, and not you, you will see that He cares for you and knows best. Of course you can have your dreams and desires but dare to trust that Jesus knows best.

If you study the lives of Jesus’ disciples, you see that this is how they lived. And of course they experienced resistance and persecution, but they also got to take part in writing history. They saw mighty miracles happen, multitudes saved, and churches started and grow. They saw fruit from their lives as they lived in the footsteps of Jesus. Follow the example of the disciples, which you can read about in the Bible. There is no shortcut or some kind of new modern version of the Christian life.

God bless you.