As we read through Luke each week there will be two devotions focusing on particular passages. Click here to read past devotions.
Focus Point: Daily (Luke 9:20-26)
“Who do you say I am?” Knowing the answer to this question is not salvation. And Jesus will not allow the disciples to think otherwise. Salvation is to follow (the end of the chapter also makes this apparent: 9:57-62).
To follow is more than simply being present. Nor is it the 5000 waiting around to have their bellies filled (9:10-17). To follow is to emulate. So Jesus demands, “deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me.”
This is not a piece of jewelry we are called to carry – something that allows the normal life to continue. “It pictures a procession of the condemned and implies that one lives knowing that life in the world is already finished” (Marshall, 373)
This procession is ours DAILY. Denying ourselves, as Jesus did, in order to save others.
Connection to Today: What is “our” cross? When I was in college a friend and I discussed pacifism. He was convinced the cross should lead us to pacifism – as Jesus refused violence and chose to lay his life down.
Now let me say, I agree Jesus was non-violent when it came to protecting himself or his rights. The only time Jesus had a hint of violence was when people were restricting access to God in the temple (see John 2, “made a whip”). This should inform our own tendencies to violence, which are often motivated by selfishness.
But my response to my friend is that we are to take up OUR cross. Not literally carry a six by six cross beam. Meaning we won’t exactly follow Jesus; instead, we will be Jesus in our life. And so key to our mission is discovering our cross. Which is my question, “How are you to sacrifice yourself for others?”
- “Whoever is not against you is for you” (9:50). Runs counter to how we generally function. And seems counter to a later verse, “whoever is not with me is against me” (11:23). But notice a key difference in the two verses Jesus speaks: you and me. Anyone with Jesus, even if they are not with you is for you. But whoever is not with Jesus… is against you, even if they are with you.
- In 9:51 “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” This marks a transition in the gospel, the movement steadily toward the cross.