February 25, 2018                                                                                                    

Mark 8:34-38…“He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ’If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” vs. 34

It’s become quite common in these times for people to identify themselves as followers of Jesus. For some, it’s a way to disassociate themselves from some of the negativity connected with the current depictions of Christianity as a political or nationalistic movement. In their eyes, being a follower of Jesus is a step away from denominational-ism and a return to the “purity” of New Testament discipleship. It’s an admirable intention! But it’s not a step to be taken lightly. It is freeing to eliminate some of the baggage of cultural Christianity and Jesus probably would applaud our decision. But he would also be quick to remind us that following him means self-denial and taking up the cross. It means learning to live for others and not for ourselves. Of course, that too is counter-cultural and contrary to the ways of the world, and it’s not an easy journey. But those who do choose to follow Jesus on the way of the cross, are enriched beyond imagination. It’s not that we become wealthy or accumulate power—those are the goals of this world. But we are immersed in the essence of life and discover the joys of the kingdom…and the blessings are spectacular…even on the days the road leads through the valley of darkness.

Thought for the Day: How have I been enriched by following Jesus?