Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:23–26, NRSV)
Jesus was addressing his disciples after a time of prayer and a time of sharing with them who he truly was. Seems like kind of a high point followed by a major buzzkill. Lots of talk about dying.
I’m not sure about how much of this applies to us. We aren’t persecuted and martyred these days like many of the ones Jesus addressed were. But I do have a feeling that the deny yourself to follow Jesus still matters. We are to put him, his kingdom, his church, his people above ourselves. We are part of a bigger cause.
Sometimes we think about church as a club. We get together with like-minded people, hang out, drink coffee, worship, talk about the Bible and politics and problems we are having. I’m not sure Jesus would approve of that model. He wants us to put the cause first and put our own stuff further back in the queue.
I don’t want Jesus to be ashamed of me and I don’t want him to be ashamed of us. Let’s follow him the way he wants us to follow him.