on the road


Sunday Reflection


28th February 2021

...shift the focus...

Jesus said:

"If any want to become my followers,
 let them deny themselves
 and take up their cross
 and follow me.
 For those who want to save
 their life will lose it,
 and those who lose their life
 for my sake,
 and for the sake of the gospel,
 will save it"

.....Mark 8 vv 34-35

Jesus made it very clear to his
followers the cost of discipleship.
Those who followed him must
expect to suffer, to give up their lives.
A stern warning!
Yet in Mark 8:35 he goes one
stage further and says;

'For whoever wants to save
 his life shall lose it but
 whoever loses his life
 for me and for the Gospels
 shall save it.'


Jesus instructed that those who
wish to follow him must be prepared
to shift the focus of their lives
from a concern for self to giving
all to the will of God.

It is unceasing willingness to say 'No'
to oneself in order to be able to
say 'Yes' to God."

During this Lent season we are
travelling with Jesus along
the road to the cross;
Jesus had at this point in his walk
set his face toward Jerusalem
which meant that he was heading
toward his crucifixion and his
subsequent resurrection.

In the church we tend to talk a lot
about the fact that Jesus laid down
his life and that he had to carry
his own cross and it is all true;
he laid down his life and he
picked up his cross because he knew
that was God's way for him.

When we talk about Jesus doing
those things, we tend to talk about
how he did them for us,
and that is true, too.

But there is another truth
that we don't talk about enough:
here on the road to the cross
there is a baggage allowance
for those who are the followers of Jesus;
there are things that we have to put down
and leave behind and
there are things that we have to
pick up and carry with us.

Jesus told us:
if we want to follow him,
then we must lay down our lives
and we must pick up our cross.

It is a truth that is for all of us,
young and old and middle-aged,
who would be followers of Jesus -
the Christian life is a life
that is first of all about loving
the Lord God with all our hearts
and that is second of all about
loving our neighbour
(and everyone is our neighbour)
as ourselves.

The Christian life is a life that
is not about seeking what is best
for us but rather what
is best for others;
the Christian life is a life
that is not about craving
security but that is about
seeking sacrifice;
the value of Christian life
is not measured by what
we can gain but rather by
what we can give.

On the road to the cross,
we don't carry our selfishness
and our agenda and our plans with us;
we instead carry our love
and our sacrifice and
God's will for us with us.

That is the baggage allowance
on the road to the cross;
that is the baggage allowance
on the road to resurrection;
that is the baggage allowance
on the road to judgment.

God has a plan for each one of us
and from all our suffering and
sacrifice God brings good.
It is through being challenged,
and put to the test that we are shown
God's love and grace then we can
grow in faith and achieve
a closer relationship with
God our father and
Christ our Saviour.

Life is not always easy,
the cost of discipleship is great
but I leave you joyfully with
the words of Julian of Norwich;

'He did not say,
'You will not be tempest tossed,
you shall not be work-weary,
you shall not be discomforted.'
But he did say
'You shall not be overcome.''

Can we take these words on board
so that we can trust God in all things?
He has a perfect plan for us.

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'Take Up Your Cross'
sung by Conduit feat.
Chidiya Ohiagu
(with lyrics)'
via the link shown below.