Count the Cost - 15 March 2019

Neville Turley

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot afterward do anything worse.I will show you whom to fear: fear God, who, after killing, has the authority to throw into hell. Believe me, he is the one you must fear!” Luke 12:4-5 (GNT)

Jesus said these words as thousands of people crowded around to listen to him. He was warning his followers of the persecution they would experience. It was a warning that his disciples took to heart.

Only John who lived for many years in exile on the island of Patmos and Judas Iscariot, who died by his own hand, did not suffer martyrdom according to Church tradition. Countless Christians have since then also died because they proclaimed their belief in Christ. Today it is conservatively estimated that 10 000 Christians are annually executed for their Christian convictions. 

The words “Fear not” recur again and again in the Bible. We need to conquer our fears and be courageous in our Christian witness even to the point of death.

Jesus makes it quite clear to those who want to follow him that they must first count the cost of being his disciple. He was blunt. Take up your cross and follow me. No one should be under any illusion. Following Jesus does not mean having a seat on a gravy train to heaven. Following Jesus means putting him first and foremost in your life and making a stand for him no matter what the consequences may be for you.

When a Teacher of the Law tried to trap Jesus by asking what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus asked him what the Scriptures said. "The man answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’” “You are right,” Jesus replied; “do this and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28

The key to eternal life is to turn to the Lord Jesus, take up your cross and follow him no matter the cost. This is the message of hope that God has placed us on earth to make known.

It is the hope we must proclaim both personally and indirectly by reaching out to others with the Word of God.

What is the Holy Spirit calling you to do?

Prayer: Heavenly Father may the Holy Spirit guide us in our Christian witness that through Jesus we may grow your Church and bring glory to your name. Amen

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