Sunday Devotional: Take up your cross and follow Him

Matthew 16:21-27

Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

What a grim reading for today.

For the first time, Jesus predicts His impending persecution, terrible suffering, and death by execution. Then, He warns that being His follower is not a path of roses, but one of self-abnegation and suffering:

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

Christians actually have had it good in America, compared to both the early Church and the many persecuted Christians across the world today, especially in the Middle East where Christianity is near extinction. See:

But the days of the comfortable U.S. Christian are rapidly fading, as the light of Christ dims in post-Christian America. See:

No matter what the future brings, we are to heed the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians 6:10-16:

Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

In the meantime, we take strength and solace from our Lord’s words and promise:

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? . . . For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

May the peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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11 responses to “Sunday Devotional: Take up your cross and follow Him

  1. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:

    Reblogged on kommonsentsjane/blogkommonsents.

    Sunday Devotional.

    kommonsentsjane

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dr. Eowyn, an eye opening experience we as Americans have felt in a week of trials, sufferings and some temporary healings. We have watched in awe and the thought of it creeps up. Power, hate and provocation will put an end to the human race, which brings me to ( copy) “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? . . . For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.” As always, thank You for today’s devotional.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful devotional Dr. Eowyn!
    Saint Paul’s “Armor of God” verses from the book of Ephesians are among my top favorite bible verses. I actually have the verses on my wall.
    Our God came to earth with the mission of salvation and redemption for all who believe.
    The devil had tried many ways to tempt and trick the Lord, but every time Jesus repelled him. The devil even used Peter to try and dissuade Jesus from completing his mission. But, Jesus knows the devil’s tactics and rebuked Peter for his words.
    I try to be mindful to let the Lord lead me instead of leading myself so I may follow Him and carry my cross for my Lord. I consider it a blessing and an honor to be used by the Lord to present His message. Just as you present devotionals every week and postings every day to remind us of the constant struggles between good and evil, Dr. Eowyn.
    I believe God blesses you.
    We must be forever vigilant against evil and stand firm with our Christian brothers and sisters and forever trust in the Lord.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Our worldly connections only hold us back. Much love to all our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent and timely, as usual. During the homily today the presider spoke of an American priest who became a missionary behind the “iron Curtain”. He was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years at hard labor in the gulag.

    In the book that he subsequently wrote he spoke of how he pondered these passages and turn his challenges into “opportunities”. The Lord was offering him an opportunity to share His cross and perfect his spirit.

    Being Labor Day the priest spoke of “work” as being a part of who we are. Just as in The Garden, it is our lot in life. We become God’s hands in the world.

    In these times of strife and obvious struggle with the dark forces, it is good to remember that Our Lord did not offer us lives of tranquility. We must always strive to be humble, ask for guidance and be willing to do what is required.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amen!!! Amen!!! Amen!!!
    He is King. We are His people.
    You can’t actually kill a Christian.
    You can only change their address.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Voltaire once said that “If God did not exist, we would have to invent Him.”
    Well, human reason alone can determine that as there is an order and a design in Nature, then there MUST be an Intelligence that created this order and design.
    The Story of Jesus is so qualitatively different from what History has seen before or since, in every way, that I believe NO MAN could have possibly invented it: NO MAN could have conceived it. NO MAN could have conceived of a Holy Plan of Salvation, despite our muffled and obscured notion that something is inherently wrong with our human condition (said human condition being affected by Original Sin).

    For those who cannot fathom it (and for many years, as I was existentially alienated, I myself could not fathom it—and as I am fallen I still cannot) we are left with our human reason, our starting point. Either Jesus Christ is Who He Says He Is—or He remains the most dangerous criminal in all of History. That is the stark choice; There is no other option. We cannot say that, “Oh Well, Jesus was a good man and a great moral teacher, but he certainly wasn’t the Messiah,” because He worked Miracles to prove His Credentials, and He Rose from the Dead, and the effects of this Resurrection were witnessed by too many people in historical time.
    Speaking for myself, it seems to me that God is addressing the human heart here. Each person must look at WHAT is addressing his heart, and WHO is addressing his heart. Our Lord has already seen the danger (to us, of course): “The heart of man is unspeakable deceitful. Who can fathom it?”
    So I have been looking at my own life and my own choices. As for others who will not share with me their conflict over the matter (and I cannot blame them, as their lives are not my business!) I would heartily recommend that they look at the available medical and forensic evidence, namely, the Holy Shroud of Turin, and the radioactive evidence that was collected at Christ’s Tomb: It is one thing not to be able to assent to intellectual argument; It is quite another not to be willing to accept the forensic evidence—that would take pride, the deceit of the heart that dare not speak its name.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you and much love to all commenters for your insight and steadfastness.

    Like

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