37. Whoever loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves their son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38. And whoever does not take up their cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life because of Me will find it.
Here once again Jesus is teaching people who would want to follow Him.
v37: “Whoever loves their father or mother…son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me…..” Normally speaking, most people would acknowledge that family relations are the most important interactions we have on this earth, and that we should love our families very highly. However, Jesus here boldly teaches His disciples and His followers that we have to put HIM first, even above the necessary and good love we demonstrate to our families. In practice, there might not often be the need to choose between our love for Jesus and our love for our families, because Jesus and God do after all tell us to love our families. So in loving God, we will love our families too. However, families can stand in the way of our pursuing our faith in Christ, or standing up to defend His word. This can even be true in supposedly “Christian” families. It is then that we might have to choose between our Christ and our families. In this situation, Jesus tells us that if we choose our families over Him, we show that we are not worthy of Him.
v38: “And whoever does not take up their cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” The Christian life down here is a life of humility and sacrifice. Jesus was the ultimate example of this when He died on the cross. However, He calls us also to carry our own crosses, and follow in His steps of sacrifice, following His example by giving all that we are and all that we have , metaphorically “carrying our own crosses”, to live according to His commandments, and to preach His Good News so that others too might come into His kingdom.
39. “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life because of Me will find it.” – As Christians, we are not to live our own lives. That is, we are not to live for our own glory, or fame, or success. Rather, all our endeavours should be focused on living the life of Christ – humbly and lovingly serving others for the sake of His glory, and fame. If we seek after our own lives; to do what we want to do; to live for our own pleasures, we will miss out on the promise of eternal life with Christ. If however, we “lose” our own lives down here on earth for the sake of Christ – whether through death by martyrdom or through using our lives to do God’s work and spread His Good News, we have the glorious, unending promise of eternal life available for us forever.
The choice is ours -we have to make sure that we choose wisely! 😉
Photo of cross pendant by HannahJoe17 on Pixabay