I was not looking forward to working with Wally. As a rookie engineer, I expected this retired general to be gruff and demanding. However, the day we met and everyday thereafter, his first words were, “How can I help you today?” He treated everyone this way: the boss, the lowest employee, and especially his wife. Wally’s attitude and daily actions stemmed from his knowledge of who Jesus is and his acceptance of Jesus’ lordship. I never found out if his servant heart had developed before or after he survived a WWII prison camp. He did not talk about those horrible years nor did he blame them for his deteriorating health. He chose, instead, to live serving others first and himself last—something I will always remember and value.
- At work and home, do you see yourself as a servant or the king/queen?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 9:18-27 (ESV)
18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- In verse 20, Jesus modified his initial question to the disciples with what one word? Why was the answer to this question important?
- How did Jesus’ description of what would happen to him contrast with the disciples’ image of him (vs. 22)?
- Write in your own words Jesus’ description of the costs to follow him found in verse 23. What three attitudes/actions lead to forfeiture of one’s life, and what attitude/action saves one’s life (vss. 24-26)?
- What would it look like today for you to take up your cross and follow Jesus? What would it look like for you to be “all in,” proudly and publicly claiming Jesus is the Messiah?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus sought a personal acknowledgement from his disciples of who he was in order to prepare them for the worst—his suffering and death. Following Peter’s proclamation, Jesus upended their perception of an earthly kingdom, saying a follower of his must “deny himself and take up his cross daily.” To his listeners, this was a ghastly reference to a humiliating execution. It meant volunteering each day to live in submission to him and to follow his example of servanthood. When we choose this position and direction, we too can reset our priorities from this world’s to God’s kingdom’s.
- Praise God for sending his perfect and obedient son, Jesus, as our savior and perfect example of kingdom living.