Thursday 9 April
Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’
What Jesus says at this point in his earthly ministry is the tipping point of the good news that he proclaimed to the crowd and His disciples.
Jesus’ message has spread around the countryside, reaching many people, and has been supported by his supernatural actions that speak to his divine power and authority. Jesus has testified that he is the Christ (God’s only anointed King), that he has come to save sinners (humankind), and that he requires a personal response from each one of us.
As ever, Jesus is up-front; he doesn’t hide the tough parts. He sets out, unequivocally, his call. “Whoever” (it’s open to all), “wants to be my disciple” (it’s for those who submit to Jesus’ rule as learners and followers), “must deny themselves” (it’s not only a counter-cultural call, it’s a counter-natural call).
This is beyond any person’s power. For this we need Jesus himself dwelling in us by his Spirit. We need to be born again: dying to self and being made alive in Christ by his sovereign power. With this personal empowerment we can be followers of the suffering servant, Christ himself.
The true follower of Jesus is someone who clearly sees what it will cost to follow him - but does it joyfully anyway, knowing that Jesus is worth infinitely more than whatever this world affords.
Heavenly Father, as we approach Easter, help us look afresh at the magnitude of Christ and the cross, and our relationship with Jesus, that we might respond in accordance with your will. Amen
Robin Turton, Region and UK Prison Ministry Coordinator
Robin came to Christ late whilst serving as a police officer. In 2010, on retiring he became a regional coordinator and latterly widened the role to include UK prison ministry. In 2017 he moved from Edinburgh to Hawick to help gospel growth in the Scottish Borders.
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