Remember Tang? This space-age orange juice substitute powder went into space with the astronauts! I remember drinking many glasses it.
Do you think you could tell the difference between a glass of Tang and a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice? Of course!
Numerous times Jesus commanded, “Follow Me.”
A definition of a “disciple” is a learner or apprentice of a Rabbi or a Greek philosopher. But this definition of a disciple falls woefully short of Jesus’ terms for discipleship!
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Luke 9:23 ESV
To deny yourself includes forsaking your own needs, possessions, and pride to live your life totally for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Next, Jesus sent shock waves through the crowd when he said to take up your cross. A convicted criminal under the Roman regime endured the ultimate humiliation of carrying his own cross to his place of execution to be nailed to it until he dies a torturous death.
Jesus was not talking about a philosophical or ornamental cross. When Jesus would have been about 11 years old, a man known as Judas the Galilean led a revolt against the Romans. He and his rebels raided the armory at Sepphoris, a town only four miles from Nazareth where Jesus grew up.
The Romans squelched the rebellion with a vengeance. They burned the town and sold the inhabitants as slaves. Then for miles along the road, they crucified 2,000 of the captured rebels!
This image must have been burned into the memories of those listening that day.
So according to Jesus’ terms for discipleship, a casual Christian is a contradiction of terms.
Then Jesus added “daily.” Every day will include a new part of life that will have to be crucified in order to obey and follow Jesus.
Following Jesus is freshly-squeezed daily, not just a stir-in to other loyalties.
Jesus’ terms for discipleship are clear, there’s no room for self in following Him. What must die in you in order to follow Jesus today?
Father, thank-you for the sacrificial death of your Son on the cross on our behalf. Now, we die to ourselves daily in order to follow Jesus.