Scripture: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me; (Luke 9:24).
As a follower of Christ, are you willing to lay down your life for Jesus, and for your faith? The Christian life is a sacrificial lifestyle, and taking up your cross and following Jesus calls for the absolute surrender of all fleshly desires as related to the pleasing of ones’ self. You must be willing to die before you are able to live.
Jesus was a lowly meek person. Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard himself as equal with God. He emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross; (Phil. 2:6-8). Will you follow Jesus’ example if your life was required of you, for the sake of the Gospel, or will you deny that you ever knew him?
“No One Who Looks Back is Fit for the Kingdom of God”
After feeding the crowd of 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves, Jesus and his disciples went into a private meeting. The topic of discussion began with Jesus asking them “Who do the crowds say that I am?” and then he asked them, “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered “The Christ of God.” Jesus strictly warned them not to tell anyone, and he said “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priest and the lawyers. He told them of how he was going to die at the hands of the Jewish leaders and their Gentile overlords (Luke 9:22). At this point, his popularity sank. Many of his followers deserted him.
To me, one of the saddest verses in the Bible is John 6:66, “As he began to talk about his destiny, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him, because his teachings were too hard to accept. They weren’t willing to identify with Him to the point of death, so they turned back.
“What did they turn back to???” I believe the location of the scripture and verse gives us a clue that answers this question. Traditionally, the number 6 is thought to be the number of man being created on the sixth day. The number 6 always falls short of God, whose perfect number is 7. The symbol for the antichrist is 666; Revelations 13:18 reveals this to us,
“This calls for wisdom, let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666″.
This number is linked to the beast and the mark of the beast, which represent the world. I believe those disciples who could not accept Jesus’ teaching departed from him and went back to the world!
The Consequences of the Call
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; (2 Tim. 2:12).
Commitment to Christ means taking up your cross daily, which means giving up your hopes, dreams, possessions, and even your very life, for the sake of the Gospel. We have to count the cost of becoming a disciple. Many Christians love the gift, but not the sacrifice. Dying to one’s self requires us to sacrifice that selfish part of ourselves. Our will has to become His will. This requires discipline and sacrifice. Our lives must be a reflection of the life of Christ. Christians are called to suffer with Christ.
Before the foundation of the world, we were chosen as the sons and daughters of God. Those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the likeness of His Son; (Rom 8:29). With each call comes an assignment, in which He equips us for the work of service. (Continue to page 2)