Hope through the cross - 15 January 2020

Neville Turley

Bible text(s)

“Then Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him. “If any of you want to come with me,” he told them, “you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me.  For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it.” Mark 8:34-35 (GNT)

In the passage incorporating our verse for the day, the Lord was talking about his impending suffering and death. We could well have been in that crowd, for his message is binding on every one of us.

The first mention in the Gospel of Mark of the “cross” is here. If you were in that crowd, living under the rule of Rome, it would have sent a chill up your spine.

The word “cross” does not have the same stark impact on our ears today. But the meaning of what our Lord is saying is precisely the same. If you want to follow Jesus you must be prepared to place him first and foremost in your life. There is no other way. Nothing and no-one, must outrank the importance of your relationship with your Saviour. You must be prepared to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him.

Thank God for the witness first given to us by Stephen (Acts 6-8:1). In every generation there have been martyrs who have endured suffering to the point of death and by so doing, brought glory to God’s name.

The persecution of Christians continues to this day. One needs only to follow the media reports to perceive how shockingly believers are treated and often ruthlessly slaughtered, because of their Christian faith.

Not all of us are called by God to make the supreme sacrifice, but all of us are called by God to lead a Christ-centred lifestyle. That means being resolute in carrying out God’s will for our life. The Holy Spirit enables us to do just that.

Prayer: We give thanks, O God, for the witness of all those who live and die for the faith. And above all else, we thank you Father for the Lord Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. We vest our hope in the one Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen