Bible Verse: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1-16
Several leaders and I were debating racism, political degeneration, gender identity, Christian reform, etc. We didn’t agree on everything, but we agreed that there is a need for the Church to be reminded of the price of love. We follow a crucified Saviour into a cross-shaped life… Jesus called us to come and die.
We discussed the year 1965. The American Civil Rights Movement was ongoing. In Selma, only 1-2% of eligible black voters had been able to register to vote. Jimmie Lee Jackson had been shot and killed by a state trooper in a recent peaceful protest. Several hundred protesters planned and began a peaceful march to the state capitol. They knew they’d be stopped. They knew they’d pay a price in their own blood. They were convinced their cause was right.
The crowd walked across Edmund Pettus Bridge, side by side and singing. They walked peacefully into their brutalization, with the belief that their cause was right and they would overcome.
Christians do not face that level of persecution or challenge in North America today. However, we have much to learn from those men and women about the price of love. We have a lot to learn from Jesus about the price of love.
Christians believe and teach many controversial ideas — truth, gender, end of life, abortion, etc. Jesus’ teaching on money alone flips the tables in the Western temple to mammon.
I often hear of Christians who hide what they believe to keep jobs and keep the peace. Other Christians can be belligerent, obnoxious, and often hateful in their resistance.
There’s another way!
We desperately need to recover the teaching of Jesus — the expectation that we will suffer for following Him and the resolve to do so graciously and peacefully. We need the courage to pay the price for what we believe without losing the likeness of our Saviour. Some of us will lose jobs. Some of us will be rejected for believing socially unacceptable things. We must pay the price of love.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. Suffering unjustly in His crucifixion, He had the resolve to look Pilate in the eyes without flinching or calling His angels to rescue Him. On the cross, He forgave His murderers. He never succumbed to hate. Jesus told us that love has a high price tag. He called us to come and die that we might live with Him forever.
Prayer: Lord, lead me out of my addiction to comfort and into a deeper trust in you. Free me from my love of security and peace and teach me to graciously stand for what is right and true. Give me courageous love, Lord! Amen.
Reflection: What would it look like for you to publicly align yourself with Jesus and what Jesus teaches without causing unnecessary offence? Is there anywhere in particular that you shy away from this?
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