March 5, 2017 – Sunday
Read: Mark 8:34-38
Focus: vs. 34
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus tells two quick parables that both have the same meaning. In the first parable he says, “the Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought the field.” In the second parable he says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went way and sold everything he had and bought it.” Jesus wants you to know there are some things that are worth sacrificing everything for.
Have you ever had that moment where you looked at your life and discovered that you were only giving God a portion of it and He was calling for more? I hope that every Christian reaches this point in their walk with God eventually. It’s the point where you confront the reality of the Way of the Cross as you begin to comprehend how much it requires of you.
Have you ever experienced sticker shock when looking at the price of something? Within my mind I have a sense of what I’m willing to pay for something. In this world we like to haggle and get things for as cheap as possible. We like a good deal and a good deal means we still have something left in the wallet after we’ve made a purchase. But what if you ran into something you would give anything for? No amount is too great for the object you desire is worth every penny you have and more. In fact, the object you desire is priceless but you could still have it for a price. It will cost you everything you have, including your very self, but it can be purchased. Would you do it? If it was really worth it, would you pay the price for the priceless? Jesus wants you to know there are some things that are worth sacrificing everything for.
In Mark 8:34 he has just finished some very bold statements. In verses 27-30 Peter confesses that he believes Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus confirms it but tells them not to tell anyone about it. Then, in verses 31-33 he tells them that he must suffer and die and Peter couldn’t take it. The scripture says, “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.” Do you remember what Jesus said? He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then he comes to verse 34 and he says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” To follow Jesus is to take up your cross and sacrifice your all for Him. There won’t be anything left in your wallet after this purchase. Jesus wants you to know that there some things that are worth sacrificing everything for.
Jesus goes on to say, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” If you have found Jesus, you have found the priceless treasure in the field. If you have found Jesus, you have found the pearl of great value. If you have found Jesus, you have found the One that is worth sacrificing everything for. This is the Way of the Cross and it is the path of self-denial and total sacrifice.
Do you realize that Jesus thinks you were worth sacrificing everything for. Do you realize that, to Jesus, you are a priceless treasure and a pearl of great value? He gave his life for you so that you may live in him. If we are to go the Way of the Cross we must sacrifice everything for the One who sacrificed everything for us.
Have you reached the point yet, in your Christian walk, where you are faced with the call to total sacrifice? Are you willing to give it all up for Jesus? Are you willing to make the purchase for the priceless?
There is a wonderful old hymn we sometimes sing that may have been running through your head the moment you heard the title for this devotional. It’s called “The Way of the Cross Leads Home” and I want to share the lyrics with you.
I must needs go home by the way of the cross There’s no other way but this
I shall ne’er get sight of the gates of light If the way of the cross I miss
The way of the cross leads home; The way of the cross leads home
It is sweet to know as I onward go The way of the cross leads home
I must needs go on in the blood sprinkled way The path that the Saviour trod
If I ever climb to the heights sublime Where the soul is at home with God
Then I bid farewell to the way of the world To walk in it never more
For my Lord says come and I seek my home Where He waits at the open door
Pay the price. Give your all to Jesus. This is the Way of the Cross and it is worth all you are and ever will be. This is the way that leads home to heaven. If you haven’t yet reached this moment in your walk – if you haven’t yet reached this moment in your life – that day is today. I hope you’ll choose the Way of the Cross. There is only one way to follow Jesus and that way is with everything you’ve got.