What does it take to be a disciple of Jesus?
This is a question with which you and I have probably wrestled at times. We know that we are included in Christ by faith because of God's grace, and that it is only in Christ that we are declared righteous and that we are saved.
But what about following? What about being a disciple?
In Mark 8:27-38, Jesus issues a call to discipleship. Following Peter's affirmation that Jesus is the Christ, the chosen one sent by God to redeem His people, Jesus begins to explain all that He must suffer, how He will be rejected, be killed, and then after three days rise again.
Accomplishing Jesus' mission will require a huge sacrifice on Jesus' part. But what about us? What will it look like for us to follow Jesus?
In Mark 8:34, Jesus tells us what discipleship looks like. "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, and take up their cross, and follow me."
The words are very plain, but what does that look like for you and me today?
I imagine Jesus' own disciples were caught off guard when He spoke these words, just as Peter was caught off guard when Jesus described the way in which He would accomplish His own mission. And I imagine many of us today are still caught off guard when we hear these words.
Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.
So there will be sacrifice; a willingness to sacrifice even what is good for what might be better; a willingness to suffer; even a willingness to die; so that we might be raised again to new life in Christ, as we follow Him living by the Spirit.
In Ephesians 2:1-10, the apostle Paul describes this process - dead, but God made us alive in Christ, raised us up, and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms ... For we are God's workmanship (poetry) created in Christ Jesus to do good works God prepared in advance for us to do.
So as you consider discipleship, realize that it will require sacrifice, a willingness to suffer, and even die so that we might be raised to new life in Christ! And it is the new life, which enables us to follow, doing the good works God prepared in advance for us to do.
So what about you? What do you think it takes to follow Jesus? Please take time to share your own thoughts as we journey together along the way ...