Wednesday 24th February 2021
So, immediately following on from the parable of ‘The Banquet’ which we read about in our booklets yesterday, Jesus goes on to say some very strong words. Read Luke 14: 25-35
While you were probably taken-aback by what Jesus said about your attitude towards your family and many translations will have a footnote explaining that Jesus is saying that we should love him more than anyone else, most of the crowd listening to him would have been more shocked by the mention of a cross. While everyone knew about and had probably seen crucifixions, no one talked about them. A bit like some people today refusing to say the word cancer and will instead use lots of other words and euphemisms to avoid say the word, so in Jesus’ day people avoided saying the words cross and crucifixion. They knew that once a person had reached the stage of carrying their cross, their life was no longer their own and they now were only living to carry out the commands of the king / Caesar.
After describing the high cost of following him, Jesus goes on to suggest that we consider whether the cost is worth it. If you are unsure of the conclusion Jesus expects us to come to, remember or re-read the parables we looked at on Sunday morning (Matt.13: 44-45) where Jesus describes God’s kingdom as being like priceless treasure.
So, when Jesus spells out the cost of following him, is he saying we need to deny our uniqueness and become some sort of clone of himself? No! God made us unique, and delights in our uniqueness. What Jesus is saying is that we should hold lightly those things in life which others see as being the most important things to live for and adopt the values that Jesus shows us as being important.
What are those important things Jesus wants us to place at the centre of our lives? They are to recognise how much God loves us and how much he wants to care for us. As those truths sink deep into or lives, they become the firm foundation on which we can build our lives and then when the storms of life come along, we will be able to stand firm, knowing that no matter what happens, God loves us and will take care of us.
No one would usually voluntarily take up their cross, yet Jesus confidently tells us to consider the cost (and benefits) of following him, and he is sure we will make the right decision and take up our cross and follow him. Jesus is sure that we will see that whatever the weight of the cross we find ourselves carrying it is outweighed by the benefits of knowing him as our Saviour and Lord.
No one compels us to take up our cross, but instead we do this in response to the ‘hidden treasure’ we have discovered – the amazing, unending love God has for us. While giving up our ‘rights’ is something completely opposite to how the rest of the world does things, Jesus points to it being the only way for us to know the benefits of living in the kingdom of God.
Read these lyrics (perhaps listen to the song on YouTube) and then talk to God about what you find difficult to let go of, or the burdens you carry and finish by once again thanking him for all he has done for you.
I will offer up my life in spirit and truth, pouring out the oil of love as my worship to you.
In surrender I must give my every part; Lord, receive the sacrifice of a broken heart;
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring to so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung as a praise of your name, for the things you have done?
O my words could not tell, not even in part, of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart.
You deserve my every breath for you've paid the great cost; giving up your life to death, even death on a cross.
You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin, opened up the gates of heaven, and have beckoned me in
(Matt Redman © 1994 Kingsway's Thank You Music)
Lent booklet: Action Week 1
The ‘Action’ for this week is to read the whole of one of the gospels. You can hear the gospel of Luke read to you, with accompanying pictures on YouTube: ‘LUMO Gospel of Luke’ https://youtu.be/N7qfVQj42r4
Someone who has made a great contributed to the life of this church for almost 50 years has died. On Monday 22nd John Baker was rushed into hospital after having had a heart-attack and died a few hours later. John showed his devotion to his Lord Jesus through doing many practical things around the church building. He spent many hours maintaining the premises, and faithfully every Sunday made sure that the microphones were working. Please remember in your prayer his children Martin and Kathryn (& Mark) along with his grandchildren Lilly and Jude and his sister-in-law Jill.
of the church,
0121 476 2741 or 07456 826 326
Pray for the family of John B who had a heart attack and died. His children Martin and Kathryn (& Mark) along with his grandchildren Lilly and Jude and his sister-in-law Jill.
Pray for Eudora's son Robert as he mourns the death of his brother Martin
Pray for Judy as she makes arrangement to come back to the UK following the death of her mum Gillian. Pray also for her dad, Peter.
Pray for Sue's daughter Helen, as she work s in the QE Hospital's Intesive Care unit (ITU)
Pray for Steph's family. Her step-father's health is rapidly deteriorating physically and mentally. Her mum continues to care for him at home, with the help of carers.