Jesus endured the shame of the cross so that we would not be ashamed of His relationship with us. Shame on you if you choose anyone other than Jesus to have top priority in your life.
“23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9
Many people interpret verse 26 to mean – “If I don’t witness to other people about Jesus then Jesus will be ashamed of me when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”
That is true, but extremely limited in scope. What is missed and equally true is Jesus will also be ashamed of all those who compromise their revelation of, and experiences in God, for a position, promotion, paycheck or relationship.
When we check the context of our Luke 9 text we see the bigger picture Jesus is addressing. He and His original disciples were at Caesarea Philippi near the base of Mount Hermon. Jesus asked them who do the people say He is, and then He asked them who do they say He is. Jesus empowers people to define their relationship to Him. Once we identify He is Lord He requires a greater depth of commitment to follow Him.
V23 – “He was saying to them all” – “All” leaves no one out. It includes the disciples He was speaking to, and everyone who reads this text in every generation since Jesus spoke these words.
V23 – “If anyone wishes to come after Me” – Jesus lets everyone choose to follow [commit completely] or not. When a person volunteers to follow they accept responsibility for the relationship they freely chose to have with Him.
V23 – “He must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” – Self must always be dealt with or you will begin to follow then quit when the journey is no longer “fun”. Taking up “his cross” is our cross not Jesus’. Our cross is the reason we are on the planet, and that includes everything we know about God and every experience we have in God that is meant to equip us to live the life Christ saved us to live.
V24 – “For everyone who wishes to save his life will lose it” – So much for the once saved always saved theological error. Once you choose to follow Jesus you forfeit your right to your life. Jesus is Lord of all or not at all! It is all or nothing with Jesus. Once on the path to your divine purpose it is fatal to quit following Jesus. God will allow you to back out of your commitment to follow Jesus, to your own harm.
V24 – “But whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” – Do you see how salvation works. “Saved but doing my own thing” is not the salvation Jesus paid for and God offers. “Losing our life” again speaks to forfeiting it to gain Jesus’ life.
V25 – “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?” – This is where the pressure gets the strongest. When a person is presented with the option of worldly profit or “himself”, he must choose where his loyalties lie and who his lord truly is. Is “my lord” the Lord Jesus who bought me and called me to follow Him, or is “my lord” gaining the world’s approval? Many church leaders have created a church culture that is based on the world’s approval. That is why so many worldly people can attend and never surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.
V26 – “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” – Whoever is ashamed of Jesus’ words is ashamed of Jesus who spoke them. This means whatever Jesus speaks and reveals to us we are fully responsible to live, obey, steward, and protect – AT ALL COSTS to our personal well-being. Compromise convolutes the truth, but it does not compromise the One who is Truth and who reveals Truth to us.
The false gospel that most people have gotten “saved” under has enslaved many in a compromised position of passionless, and purposeless faith in and faithfulness to God.
Romans 6:16 – “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” If this warning does not shake you to your core your core has already been compromised to the point that you may already be in grave danger.
How many people claim to be Holy Spirit filled Christians but are in relationships with people who will not allow them to fully represent the Jesus who saved them, called them, and filled them with the Holy Spirit? In presenting themselves as servants of those they are in relationship with they endanger the relationship they say they have with Jesus who called them to serve with Him, and as Him.
1 John 2:6 – “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
The Greek philosopher Plato developed a system of thought that bears his name. Then he trained his young disciple Aristotle in this system of Platonic philosophy. Aristotle built on Plato’s teaching and developed his own system known as Aristotelian logic. Aristotle then established schools called academies to train more disciples. This Greek discipleship system was very effective, because even after Rome conquered Greece, the Romans could not eradicate Greek influence. So while Rome wielded military power, the Greeks wielded power over the culture because well-trained Greek disciples were functioning at every level of the society. These people lived under Roman rule, but their thinking was Greek. And in the end, what people think is a lot more important and powerful than what an external power can force them to do. This helps us understand why Jesus commissioned the church to make disciples. When it’s done right, the disciple becomes a follower for life because the real battle for souls is waged in the mind. A well-trained disciple can live in a foreign, hostile culture without succumbing to that culture because his mind is fixed on another world. [Tony Evans, God’s Glorious Church: The Mystery and Mission of the Body of Christ].
It would be a shame to continue relating to the person, or people, who are requiring you to not fully submit to Jesus by reducing yourself down to someone less than who He says you are, and do less than what He called you to do. Shame on you if you continue to rebel and die, when Jesus offers you His life to live if you will die to yourself.
Keep His Passion, Power, Presence, Purity and Purpose!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin