June 15, 2009

The Cost of Following Jesus

Mark 8:31-9:1

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Mark 8:34


Peter didn’t like it when Jesus talked about his approaching death and resurrection.

A short time earlier, Peter had made the bold profession, “You are the Christ.” But now Peter couldn’t accept Jesus’ words about suffering, rejection, and death. Peter’s vision for Jesus and his fellow disciples was far different from that. So Peter took Jesus aside and tried to set him straight.

Jesus rebuked Peter in the strongest possible language: “Get behind me, Satan! … You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Peter had replaced God’s will with his own.

Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth was to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

In thankfulness to him we are called to follow his lead, whatever the cost may be.

We must honestly admit that we are a lot like Peter. We easily yield to the temptation to make the Christian faith something different than Jesus intends it to be. We want the benefits of Christ’s cross, but we resist the price of following him.

Again and again we need to be reminded that in God’s kingdom, life follows death and victory follows surrender.

And we will only save what we are willing to lose.

Dear Lord, we thank you for the cross, where our sins were paid for. May the freedom we have from our guilt lead us to live surrendered lives for you. In your name, Amen.

About the author — R. Scott Greenway

R. Scott Greenway was born in Mexico City in 1964, the fourth child of missionary parents. He graduated from Calvin College in 1986, Calvin Theological Seminary in 1991, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2002. He and his wife, Kelly, have four children. He pastored the Irving Park Christian Reformed Church in Midland Park, New Jersey, and currently serves as pastor of Caledonia Christian Reformed Church in Michigan. He enjoys a variety of outdoor sports, including hunting and fishing.

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