A Call to Discipleship
Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow him.
Use a variety of crosses (Bookmark, gold necklace, key chain, wall hanging, etc.)
Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)
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I have something to show you. (Hold up one of the crosses.) You know what this is, don't you? Of course you do, it is a cross. I have several crosses to show you. Here is a cross on a chain that you can wear around your neck. Here is a bookmark made in the shape of a cross, and this is a beautiful cross that is made to be hung on a wall.
Every day we see crosses all around us. People wear them as jewelry, they hang them on the wall, and they use them as key chains. When you pass by a church, it is not unusual to see a cross on the steeple. We even see many people who wear the cross as a tattoo on their body. What comes to your mind when you see a cross? What does the cross mean to you? Is it just a piece of jewelry or a work of art?
One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"
"Well," they replied, "some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead."
"And you - who do you say that I am?" Jesus replied.
Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Messiah."
Peter had given the right answer. You would think that would be the end of Jesus' lesson, but it wasn't. Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. "The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things," he said. "He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead."
Then Jesus called the the crowd of people who had gathered around to come and join him and his disciples. "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it."
So, what does it mean to us? It means that we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who was willing to give up everything so that we could have everlasting life. It also means that those of us who want to be his followers must also be willing to take up our cross, give up everything, and follow him.
The cross - it is so much more than a piece of jewelry, a work of art, or a decoration on a steeple. It is a reminder of our Savior's great love for us and our call to follow him!
Heavenly Father, thank you that you loved us so much that you sent your Son to die on a cross. As his disciples, help us to take our cross and follow him. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.