Thursday 18 February 2010

Bible Book:

"Then he said to them all, 'If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" (v.23)

Luke 9:22-25 Thursday 18 February 2010


This is one of Jesus' uncompromising hard sayings. Already largecrowds have been hanging on his words; multitudes had come forhealings; 5,000 had been fed with bread, fish and beatitudes.Everything is ready for revival. Then Jesus began to teach the 12disciples that they must deny themselves and take up their crossdaily and follow. It was hardly going to be a popular message.After all, the cross was a feared symbol of Roman occupation. Itwould appear that Jesus' desire to do God's will was stronger thanthe desire to be popular.

This foreboding passage is immediately before the Transfiguration. It must have been arelief for the disciple Peter to enter the bright light of God'spresence. Peter was discovering that following Jesus requires goingon a journey that has lows and highs, concerns and certainties.There were times when all appeared dark and others when everythingwas illuminated. But it is the same source of light thataccompanies him on all these experiences. Following Christ is ajourney of great contrasts.

On the west front of Westminster Abbey there are ten statues ofChristian martyrs of the 20th century. Theyinclude Maximilian Kolbe from Poland, Janani Luwum from Uganda,Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Germany and Lucian Tapiedi from Papua NewGuinea. In the centre of London they are a silent reminder thatfollowers of Christ still deny themselves and pick up theircross.

To Ponder

How important is it for you to be popular? Why isthat so?

What does Jesus' invitation to self-denial andcross carrying mean for you?

Alongside the martyr statues on Westminster Abbeythere are four allegorical figures that represent truth, justice,mercy and peace. Would you want to add any other figures thatrepresent Christian discipleship?

How much do you know about the sufferingChurch?

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