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Posts tagged ‘Followers of Christ’

Matthew 20:29-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Blind Men Pitied and Healed

Matthew 20:29-34 – Two Blind Men Pitied and Healed

|| Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43

MT20:29 And as they traveled on their way from Jericho[1] a large crowd followed them. MT20:30 And, look! two blind men[2] were sitting beside the road and having heard that Jesus was passing by they cried out, saying, “Sir, have mercy on us, Son of David!” MT20:31 When the crowd rebuked the blind men to keep quiet they cried out even more, yelling, “Sir, have mercy on us, Son of David!” MT20:32 Now stopping before them, Jesus raised his voice to them and said, “What do you wish me to do?” MT20:33 The blind men said to Jesus, “Sir, open our eyes that we might see!” MT20:34 Moved with great compassion,[3] Jesus touched their eyeballs and instantly they could see again and they followed[4] after him.

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[1] On their way from Jericho: Mark 10:46 has this, “And they came into Jer’i·cho.” This would be a simple typo or editing problem easy to correct unless there was a truth behind the two different versions. Jericho was a dual city so one may exit one part and enter the next without a contradiction.

[2] Two blind men: Mark 10:46 reports only one, “Bartimae’us (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar.” The fact that Mark provides the name may indicate a later association in early Christianity. Mark focuses on the one known individual and for his own reasons ignoring the other. Luke 18:35 only says, “a certain blind man.”

[3] Great compassion: Or, RSV: pity; NEB: deeply moved.

[4] They followed: This may mean they went along with the crowd, or that they became his followers. The fact Mark names one of them may indicate he became a disciple.

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Preceding

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected

Matthew 20:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ

In this world where most people want to keep to traditions and want to prefer to follow human doctrines instead of Biblical doctrines, the one wanting to believe what God says about Jesus often feels how difficult it is to follow in line with God’s Words.

Many of us have had to endure hardships because we chose to follow Jesus. For many who came to the Truth it took several years before they dared to take the steps in the right direction. Some do know the Biblical Truth and do follow the real Jesus, Jeshua the Nazarene teacher who is also called the son of man and son of God, but do not want to tell it to others. As such, for example, we had a friend who did not believe in the Trinity but kept working as a pastor in a trinitarian preaching company. He told us he could not say openly he did not believe any more in the Trinity because than he would loose his job as minister and would have no income any-more. That is often a very difficult factor, certainly for priests and ministers.

But also lay people have it difficult to make the right choice. Some of them have had to lose friends and family relationships, and on many occasions even had to endure verbal attacks. There are people all over the world who are being put in prison and literally risking their life to follow Jesus.

So the big question for most people is,

“Why?”

Yes

Why do we choose to risk it all to follow this person who we believe rose from the dead? What do we get out of it?

When they were fishermen Jesus had asked those simple men to follow him, what they did.  At that time they gave up their profession and their income. The thought of sacrifice very naturally suggests as its correlative that of compensation; so it is not at all to be wondered at that, before this conversation ended, Peter, the impulsive disciple, so much given to think aloud, should blurt out the honest question:

“Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?”

Peter asked Jesus what they would get, and that is perhaps the question which would be on most lips when wondering to follow Jesus or any other person. Certainly (for today) when it is all about a person who lived so many centuries ago and who seemed to have caused so many problems. Peter could not but remember that while the Master had insisted on his disciples denying self to follow him, he had spoken no less clearly of their finding life through losing it, and of their being rewarded according to their deeds. {see Matthew 16:24-27 } A more cautious man would have hesitated before he spoke; but it was no worse to speak it than to think it: and then, it was an honest and fair question; accordingly our Lord gives it a frank and generous answer, taking care, however, before leaving the subject, to add a supplementary caution, fitted to correct what was doubtful or wrong in the spirit it showed.

People should know that everybody is free to choose what or whom to follow. God has given man the free choice. His sent ones, the many prophets often asked people to follow their sayings. Every time they left the choice to the people themselves, never forcing them into doing something what they would not want to do of free choice. The same for the Nazarene master teacher. He never pushed people to come to listen to what he had to say. He never pushed people to come to see what he did. When he walked around in the area people came from their own to see and hear this special man. Not everybody could make up his mind about that special figure and many doubted his position or wondered who he really was and what he came to do.

The word recalls what is said in the book of Genesis as to

“the generation of the heaven and of the earth.”

Nobody can escape to this system and shall have to make the choice to be part of this world or to be part of God’s World. That is what it makes so difficult, man can not live in both worlds. Man can not keep to the human traditions with the many heathen festivals and at the same time claim he worships God. The Divine Creator demands complete submission to the Divine values and norms. One cannot eat from the two walls. God requires an honest surrender to Him. He also has given His son to bring salvation to the world and expects that the world shall come to recognise His only begotten son.

Coming closer to the end-times more adversaries of Gdo shall try to get people away from the Only One True God. They shall do their utmost best to confuse people and to make them to worship an other god than the God of Israel, Who is an Unseen Spirit.

People who come to see Who God is and who His son is and want to follow that son, with the knowledge that this son of God the way to god is, may find it difficult to persevere because the majority is against such an idea that a man would be able to do God’s Will and to offer himself for the sins of others. When you believe that you should be not ashamed and should not go hiding, but should dare to tell about your faith, that you believe that son of man is the son of God who gave his life as a ransom for the sins of many. The belief in the son of God should make you stronger than those who do not believe in that man of flesh and blood who gave his life, was killed, put in a grave but was also taken out of the dead by his heavenly Father. That resurrection of a man is for us the ultimate proof that a human being can stand up from the death. In case Jesus would be God, we naturally would not have any proof at all for the resurrection of man.

That resurrection may give us something to fight for. People may bully us, hurt us and even could kill us, but we do know there is much more behind the ‘curtain of this life’.

No matter what you have had to endure or give up to follow Jesus, the reward in the end is so much greater than what you ever would be able to gather here on earth. We should not be afraid to face those who are against us because we do not want to go for that false teaching of a three-headed god. We should believe in what the Bible tells us and should not be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies and by those who want to push us in the world of human doctrines. You should know such people may harm you in this life but there shall be nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Therefore are not afraid for such human beings who ignore the Words of God and Who, as a God Who tells no lies, declared Jesus to be His only begotten son. Save your fear for that God of Israel Who is a Spirit and not a man of flesh and blood who could be killed. That God of Abraham is an eternal Spirit Being, Who holds your entire life — body and soul — in His hands.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28 NIV)

Our reward for following Jesus is that we shall be able to find the way to God. Jesus is the right way to go. By listening to his words and by doing what he requires from us we shall be able to grow in his teachings and shall find enough strength to continue on the right path.

We may be sure there shall come a moment that the Son of man shall come to sit on the throne of his glory and at the end of times no one shall be able to escape his judgement. therefore let us not worry but look for Jehovah and do what God wants and not so much what the people want from us.

“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zep 2:3 NIV)

When doing what God wants and step in the footsteps of His only begotten son, then we shall be able to go on the right path to the small gate leading to immortal, perfect life where there shall be no more sickness or sorrow any more. Following Jesus worshipping his God we shall come to see the heavenly gates and shall come to see that those who do not believe the Biblical Truth like us may also find death, but shall not be able like us to see their loved ones again who have died.

“”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, {Or his only begotten Son } that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

“3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” (Re 21:3-4 NIV)

“13  Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.” (1Th 4:13-17 NIV)

What more could we possibly ask for?

Jesus has promised us everything we can dream of if we choose to suffer now, just like he did. So be encouraged today that you have a tremendous, indescribable reward waiting for you when our king returns!

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:27-29 – We Have Left Everything for You!

|| Mark 10:28-30; Luke 18:28-30

MT19:27 Then Peter responded to Jesus, “Look! We [apostles] have left everything behind[1] and followed you! Truthfully, what will there be for us?”[2] MT19:28 But, Jesus told them, “I tell you [apostles] this truth: In the New Genesis[3] [Job 14:14 LXX] – when the Son of Humankind is gloriously enthroned [Daniel 7:13, 14] [for the Judgment][4] – those who have followed me[5] will also sit upon twelve thrones judging[6] the twelve tribes of Israel.[7] MT19:29 Everyone who leaves behind[8] houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or fields[9] because of my name[10] will receive many times more:[11] he will inherit everlasting life.[12]

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[1] We [apostles] have left everything behind: Or, KJV: we have forsaken all; KNX: and what of us who have forsaken all; BECK: we gave up everything. We must ponder this emotional outburst by Peter as if he need assure his Master. Jesus had told the young rabbi to sell everything and give to the poor. Had Peter and the others actually done that? We know they “left” their fishing boats with family, but had they sold all? Note that after the death of Jesus the apostles have returned to their fishing business. Indeed, the Risen Lord must ask Peter what he loved most: Jesus or the fishing business (John 21:3-19). We may suspect Peter and the others had not done as Luke 12:32, 33 directed the “little flock.” However, observe that in the Book of Acts all the disciples have sold everything as Jesus directed and then distributed to the needy (Acts 2-4).

[2] Truthfully, what will there be for us: Or, KNX: what is left for us; RIEU: what shall we get by that; WEY: what then shall be our reward; PME: what is that going to be worth to us. The idea is probably: “what will be our lot?”

[3] In the New Genesis: The Greek is PALIN(=again)GENESIA(=genesis). Or, KJV: regeneration; RSV: new world; KNX: new birth; RIEU: when the world is born anew; NEB: in the world that is to be; MON New Creation; WMS: new order of life; BER: new age; AMP: birth of the world. We know the Nazarene originally spoke these words in Hebrew (Aramaic) and Matthew later translated these words into Greek. In the Jewish Greek Septuagint of the second century BC a very similar phrase is found in Job 14:14, PALIN GENOMAI. This whole verse is rendered in Bagster’s: “I will wait until I exist again.” Translations based on the Hebrew text read: KJV: till my change come; NJB: for my relief to come; ASV: till my release should come. In this same context the root for the word “resurrection” also occurs: ANASTE (“rise again”) and the root to “memorial tomb” (or, memorium) – MNEIAN (“remember me”) (Job 14:12, 13). The context is surely that of the resurrection and the after-life. Based on this the “new genesis” may refer to the resurrection in general and specifically that time when Messiah and his associate judges (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4) judge all resurrected mankind (Revelation 20:5, 12-14; Acts 24:15). {the Lord’s people judging the world + resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked + 1000 years}

A similar phrase occurs in Peter’s writings: “Blessed be The God… who gave us a new genesis (ANA[=again]GENESAS[=genesis]) a living hope by means of the resurrection of Jesus.” (1 Peter 1:3) Judging from 1 Peter 1:23 this seems limited to that “new birth” following the justification of the saint (James 1:18; John 3:3-5).

[4] When the Son of Humankind is gloriously enthroned [for the Judgment]: This is an interpretive paraphrase. Similar language occurs in Matthew 25:31 but there the King comes with his angels (and without his Saints), for this is the parousia-Judgment. Compare Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 John 2:28; 1 John 4:17. We feel this phrase has a prophetic context related to the Thousand Years or thereafter (Revelation 20:4-6, 12-14; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Acts 17:31; Luke 22:30).

[5] Those who have followed me: Read and prayerfully meditate upon 1 Peter 2:21 and Revelation 14:4.

[6] Sit upon twelve thrones judging: Though there are more than twelve judges (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4) the Nazarene here concentrates on his “little flock” – his apostles (Luke 12:32). Note the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:12-14. There can be no question the original “twelve” (including Matthias) hold a paramount position in the Father’s Kingdom.

[7] Twelve tribes of Israel: We feel this refers to the many millions of Israelites and Jews during: a) the Thousand Year judgment (Isaiah 65:17-23); and, b) the last judgment at the general resurrection of all humankind (Acts 17:31; 24:15; Isaiah 26:19 LXX; Revelation 20:5, 12-14; compare Romans 2:12-16; Hebrews 6:2; 9:27; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24).

[8] Everyone who leaves behind: Or, KJV: every one that hath forsaken; ASV: hath left. Jesus exemplified this and his apostles thereafter. Compare also Paul’s example (Philippians 3:8, 13).

[9] Houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or fields: Mark 10:29 adds, “… houses… for the sake of the good news.” Luke 18:29 adds, “… wife…” Luke 18:30 adds, “… get many times more in this period of time.”

[10] Because of my name: We note this is the name of Jesus and not his Father, Yehowah.

[11] Will receive many times more: Or, KJV: receive an hundredfold; RIEU: shall be many times repaid; BER: shall be refunded a hundred times.

[12] Everlasting life: See notes else where on the phrase ageless life or everlasting life.

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Preceding

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Every one who would be Jesus his follower must sacrifice himself

24. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

As our Lord, to fulfill his destiny, must sacrifice himself, so also must every one who would be his follower. To keep close to our Lord (which he intends by the words “come after me,”) we must have done with self, for he denied himself to redeem his people. We must not know self, nor assent to it, but we must each one “deny himself.” Doing this, each man must cheerfully shoulder his own personal burden of sorrow and service, and carry it with self-sacrifice, as Jesus carried his cross.

He had told them of his cross, now he tells them of their own crosses. They might now choose again whether they could and would follow him. With their increased information as to his destiny, the question was again set before them, whether they would follow or forsake him. If they did continue to be his followers, it must be as cross-bearers and self-deniers.

Nor are the terms altered in these days. Do we accept them?
Can we keep step in the long procession of crosscarriers, or will we fall in with the spirit of the age, and say fine things about Jesus, while we deny his substitutionary sacrifice, and shirk the personal selfdenial which he demands?
Our own wisdom, if it leads us to think lightly of “the precious blood,” must be utterly denied and even abhorred.

– Charles H. Spurgeon

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Preceding

Meaning of Sacrifice

We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”

More than just a man with authority of speaking

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

Matthew 10:32-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: I Came to Cause Division

Matthew 12:46-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Family of Messiah

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

Matthew 16:21-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Think God’s Thoughts

Matthew 16:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Disciple Must Disown Self

Demanding signs or denying yourself

To follow Christ

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Additional reading

  1. Self-preservation is the highest law of nature
  2. A treasure which can give me everything I need
  3. To sacrifice our being for Christ
  4. The Realm of profession in Christianity

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Related

  1. I truly believed, and most definitely behaved, as if I was somebody.
  2. Deepening our Faith in Christ
  3. Loss & Found
  4. Fruit Bearer
  5. I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God
  6. St. John’s Contemplative Gospel – Selfless Serving Of Others (Chapter 13)
  7. Do We Look at Them and Love Them?
  8. Standing out and blending in
  9. Selflessness vs. Self-care, the Perpetual Dilemma
  10. B.B. Warfield – Christ’s Self-Sacrifice and Our’s
  11. Are You Sacrificing Yourself

To follow Christ

Matthew 16:24 (TS2009)
24 Then יהושע said to His taught ones, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his stake, and follow Me.

AND FOLLOW ME:

“Of the three things enjoined, the last is a vital thing: to follow. The other two are utterly essential because through the essential you achieve that which is vital. The reason is this. You can approve, and not follow. You can applaud and not follow. You can understand and preach, without following. You can defend the Truth pugnaciously, without following. You can tire yourself out on busy works – without following.. The central thing is the denial of self. It is utterly radical. Denial of self is the inward thing. Taking up the cross daily is the external manifestation of the inward condition. To talk of it is not to realize it. To write about it is not to achieve it. The use of the word ‘daily’ emphasizes that it is not just a theory but something that is real and practical; facing squarely every new circumstance; confronting bravely every impediment; grasping joyfully every new opportunity. In practice it means giving unhindered access to the Master into every chamber and esp into every dark corner. To think of that possibility might make us feel ashamed but at the same time it may do us good” (GD).

“The sentiment that Christ’s righteousness alone is to be the basis of our acceptance, is one of the countless and pernicious corruptions of clerical theology. It doubtless originated in the misapplication of a certain element of apostolic truth, namely that which informs us that all are under sin, and that our salvation is not of works; but through the righteousness of faith that is in Christ. Men have long ceased to perceive that this principle applies only to unjustified sinners, and not to those who have been placed in a justified or forgiven position, through the obedience of faith. Christ is righteousness for sinners in this sense, that God offers to forgive them for Christ’s sake, and to grant them a coheirship with Christ, of what Christ, as a manifestation of God, has achieved for himself. But when sinners become saints, they come into relation to a new principle. They are responsible to him as servants to a master, and he will judge them according to their works” (SC 164).

“The cross is the symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of the human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said goodbye to his friends. He was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life redirected. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing. It slew all of the man completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. it struck swift and hard and when it had finished its work the man was no more. That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of man is false to the Bible and cruel to the soul of the hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world. It intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our life up on to a higher plane. We leave it at a cross. The grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die. That is the beginning of the gospel” (AWT).

“To give my life for Christ appears glorious. To pour myself out for others.. to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom – ‘I’ll do it. I’m ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.’

“We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the table – ‘Here’s my life, Lord. I’m giving it all.’ But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid’s troubles instead of saying, ‘Get lost.’ Go to a committee meeting. Give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home.

“Usually giving our life to Christ isn’t glorious. It’s done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it’s harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul” (F Craddock).

I think it wouldn’t be going too far to say that there IS a discernible reason for every commandment which we are given.. and that that reason leads, without too much delay or detour, right back to the Atonement.

Christ’s sacrifice is not just about blood, and sweat, and tears.. and it is not just about the cross on that dreadful, but wonderful, day.

It is – and we all know this! – about the life he lived every day, every hour, before he arrived, finally, at that cross. Because it was his own unique life, built up day by day, with the building blocks of a thousand moments of ten thousand days, that made his cross meaningful.

Thousands of Jewish men died on thousands of Roman crosses across the length and breadth of Israel. But only one man died a sacrificial, atoning death on a cross. Because he was the perfect sacrifice, without spot or blemish.

So Christ’s sacrifice is really about a life of many choices, each one in one way or another a choice to deny himself, and his own will, and to serve his Father, and his Father’s will.

A lifetime of choices made the final choice – of the cross itself – a choice of cosmic significance.. a choice which resonates to this day, and echoes in our lives.

The essence of sacrifice is denial of self. And if we choose Christ and his cross, then we are also choosing denial of self.. as a way of life. It is the hardest choice we can make, but it is the most rewarding. Allowed to work in our lives, that commitment and that choice will change us.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his life? Or what can a man give in exchange for his life?’ ” (Mat 16:24-26).

We could run down a list of Christ’s commandments, and the commandments passed along by the apostles as well, and ask:

‘How does this relate to the Atonement?’

And in every case, I venture to suggest, we shall find the answer – and the meaningful example for us, of HOW to keep the commandment, and WHY we should keep it – in the “living sacrifice” of Christ.

Do we wonder why we are commanded this, for example?:

“Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Mat 5:39-42).

Well, of course, reason enough to do this – or (let’s be honest) to try very, very hard – is that Christ has commanded it. But was it just an otherwise pointless requirement plucked out of the air:

‘Let’s test them with this one, while we are at it’?

Of course not. We are told not to resist evil because Christ did not resist evil. And Christ did not resist evil because he had committed himself, wholeheartedly, to his Father who would ultimately judge rightly (1Pe 2:23). If we believe that that final judgment of our Father is sure and certain and righteous, then what does it matter if evil ones misuse us today, or tomorrow, or all the rest of our lives? God will set it right. What does it matter if we lose our coat, or our time, or our creature comforts – the loss of those things which we might hold dear will only reinforce to our minds the one thing that we MUST hold MOST dear – which no thief or bully or evil circumstance can take away from us:

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?.. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Rom 8:31-32; Rom 8:35).

And suppose the “cross” we are called to bear at this very moment is not the loss of property, or health, or loved ones.. the terrible losses that Job, for example, bore? Suppose the “cross” we are called to bear at this very moment is.. simply.. the harsh word spoken to us, or the little slight we experience, or the brief delay because some driver cut us off in traffic, or the tiny barb that pricks our pride?

Maybe the “cross” that we are called to bear, right now, is not the great mountain of difficulty that looms in front of us.. but the little grain of sand in our shoe!

How do we respond? Do we give harsh word for harsh word, little grumble for silly slight, little whispered curse for minor inconvenience? Do we recoil at the least threat to our pride, or the least questioning of our intelligence, or our strength, or our goodness, or our wisdom?

Or.. do we recall that “even Christ did not please himself” (Rom 15:3)? And do we therefore “turn the other cheek” to the little slap, the little needle, the little attack – even if, and especially if, it comes from a brother or sister?

If we do, and when we do, then we are “living the atonement” in our lives.

Through fits and starts, and stops and blind alleys, sometimes failing but sometimes succeeding, we are learning to be, even in the small things of our lives, “living sacrifices” (Rom 12:1-2).

But the trouble with “living sacrifices” is that – as one writer put it

– “they keep crawling down off the altar”.

°°°

Lord, help me to hold on to your altar, and “die a little bit” every day, so that I might show forth your death until you return.

°°°

Agora on New Testament readings

+

Preceding

Meaning of Sacrifice

We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”

More than just a man with authority of speaking

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

Matthew 10:32-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: I Came to Cause Division

Matthew 12:46-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Family of Messiah

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

Matthew 16:21-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Think God’s Thoughts

Matthew 16:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Disciple Must Disown Self

Demanding signs or denying yourself

++

Additional reading

  1. John 4 exhortation: The one that broke the mould
  2. Lost senses or a clear focus on the one at the stake
  3. Biblical Yeshua/ Jesus or Another European Greco- Roman Jesus ??
  4. The Atonement in Type and Antitype 1 Sacrifices and High Priests
  5. Many were made sinners through one man and justified by one man
  6. Faith coming by hearing and sent preacher gift from God
  7. Redemption #3 The imperfect animal sacrifice
  8. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb
  9. Redemption #5 The perfect sacrifice
  10. Redemption #6 Partaking his sacrifice
  11. Redemption #7 Christ alive in the faithful
  12. A perfect life, obedient death, and glorious resurrection
  13. To sacrifice our being for Christ
  14. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly”
  15. Vision blurred by cumulative burden of divisions
  16. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  17. Who are you going to reach out to today
  18. Wanting to live in Christ’s city

+++

Related

  1. The Journey Begins
  2. Cut the Ballast!
  3. January 23, 2018: “Denial”
  4. Sent Into A Hostile World
  5. Take up our crosses and follow him
  6. 7 Traits Godly Women Must Have Before Meeting Mr. Right
  7. The Christian’ willingness to follow Christ
  8. Follower of Christ
  9. Don’t Follow Me
  10. Follow the Son
  11. You are Called.
  12. When Life Gets Dark and Dreary – 1 Nephi 8:3-11
  13. Christ Is The Light Of The World.
  14. Our lord’s way – our way is the way of the cross
  15. Take Up Your Cross And Follow Christ
  16. Behold the Lamb of God
  17. Why The Phrase “God Can Only Judge Me” is Toxic to the Soul

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