READ: Luke 9:18-26
Adapted from “A Call to Die” by David Nasser (pp. 13 & 18)
Jesus’ words were unmistakable — and brutal — to his disciples. They knew what crosses were. No, they weren’t silver charms worn on necklaces. They weren’t the designs in tattoo parlors. The cross was an instrument of execution, one of the most violent and horrible ever invented by evil men. I can imagine the disciples gasping when Jesus uttered those words in the Matthew 16:24. If we fully comprehend them, we will gasp, too.
But before we get to the cross, let’s understand some things. Jesus begins this statement with a tiny but important word: if. He doesn’t take it for granted that you and I will be willing to follow him along his path of radical obedience to the Father. Jesus is no bully. He doesn’t try to get us to pack our bags for a guilt trip. No, he simply offers that path with all its hardship and joys and says, “If you want the greatest adventure life has to offer, here’s what the ticket will cost you.” Quite frankly, the vast majority of Christians look at the brochure and say, “No thanks. The price is too high. I’ll settle for something else.” Only a few are willing to say, “Yes, Jesus. I want to go where you go.” Fewer still stay on board for the whole journey. Jesus makes the offer, and he leads each of us in deciding what we want to do. The question isn’t, “Do you do what you want to do?” but “Do you do what he wants you to do?” In this lies the opportunity to die. …
Years ago, a young, uneducated man in Chicago named Dwight Moody heard a preacher challenge his audience: “The world has yet to see what God will do through one man whose heart is completely his.” Moody responded instantly, “Lord, I want to be that man!” Over the course of the next few decades, God used Moody to lead thousands of people to Christ, to begin a Bible College, and to launch a missions’ movement that eventually sent over 30,000 young men and women to parts of the globe that had never heard of Jesus or had even seen a foreigner. Moody was committed to his heart being the sole and complete property of Jesus Christ. God poured out his Spirit on him.
How would you respond to that preacher’s question today? Do you want to be that man or that women?