Friday, September 22, 2017

LHM Daily Devotion - September 22, 2017 "Was He Serious?"

Over the years, I've heard a number of Christians say most sincerely...

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour



"Was He Serious?"

September 22, 2017

Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."
~ Luke 14:25-27 (ESV)

Over the years, I've heard a number of Christians say most sincerely, "Oh, if only I could have been there when the Savior walked the earth. I would love to have heard Him preach. I'd give just about anything to have seen some of His miracles. I would, I think, have stayed awake with Him as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. I'm pretty sure I would have shouted for His release when He was unfairly tried. I certainly wouldn't have called out for Pontius Pilate to release the criminal Barabbas."

I neither question nor disagree with the sincerity of those words; most of the time I agree.

Still, there are times when I am glad I wasn't there. I'm glad I wasn't there because I don't know exactly what I would have done and how I would have reacted. I'm not entirely sure I would have always understood some of the things Jesus was saying and doing.

Today it's fashionable to think of Jesus as being gentle, kind, mild-mannered, gracious, and loving. Too often we forget that Jesus had another side, a deeper side, a side that is sometimes difficult for many of His followers to understand.

For example, listen carefully to what Jesus said, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple."

Did you hear that? Those words don't sound like something that would come out of the mouth of the Prince of Peace, the Christ who told us to love our enemies.

I know many Christians who try to minimize those words, try to change them, even ignore them. They say, "Oh, Jesus really didn't mean what He said. Not really. Jesus just wanted the folks in the crowd to know that following Him wasn't something to be taken lightly."

Me, I think Jesus was serious.

The disciples thought He was serious. They left their boats, their places of business, their families, and they followed Him. Two-thousand years of martyrs have thought Jesus was serious. History has two millennia filled with Christians who were exiled from community, family, and friends because they loved the Christ.

Are we really ready to tell them that Jesus was just joking? Jesus knew what He was saying. Jesus meant what He was saying. He meant every word that He said to the crowd that day.

He meant it every bit as much as the Heavenly Father meant it when He said, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3). It's a question of priorities and our faith-motivated willingness to follow the Savior who gave up His throne in heaven and His life here on earth -- so we might be forgiven and saved.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that my love for You may reflect the love and commitment the Savior has shown for me in His sacrifice which saves. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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