When Jesus called his disciples, they left behind their livelihood – their fishing nets and boats, their tax collecting booths and money, their business and home. They thought Jesus was the one they had waited for all their lives, the Messiah that will help them overcome the Romans and restore Israel’s glory and bring independence. They thought they were going to be military. Eventually, they realized Jesus didn’t plan on fighting anytime soon. He was doing miracles and He even imparted power to the disciples to do miracles. The disciples probably thought of themselves to be superheroes now. Some disciples wanted to wanted to call fire down on a sinful people. They liked this even better. Military was powerful but being “avengers” was not just powerful but cool. Jesus then began talking about dying and the cross. The disciples didn’t like it. They didn’t want it. But Jesus kept intentionally moving towards the cross and called His disciples to take up their cross and follow him. Give up livelihood and take up the cross, possibly die (10 out of the 12 disciples died a martyr)? The disciples probably felt foolish or even remorseful. But something about Jesus drew them closer to him. Peter, the most popular disciple who was known for being brash and talkative, said, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words that give eternal life”.
Today, Jesus calls us too. He says, “come follow me”. It doesn’t always involve giving up your livelihood but there will be times when He will ask you to give up something that you hold dear so you can follow him fully and through that know God more fully. When he says follow me, it will involve a cross. At times, it might feel foolish, but He has words of life, eternal life. He will convict, challenge and transform you and its never going to be easy. Following Him is not going to be comfortable but it will be fulfilling and life giving. Take up that cross and follow him, you will not regret it. Life makes more sense when we take up the cross and follow Him.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26