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The Gospel of John-Day 49

May 23, 2019 by Matthew Sink 0 comments

John 12:37-43 – When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,


    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

   “He has blinded their eyes


    and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,


    and understand with their heart, and turn,


    and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

The cost of discipleship is often very high. To be clear, Jesus never tried to hide that fact. He said things like:
 
Mark 8:34 – “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Luke 14:25 – Whoever does not bear His own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost…”
 
Jesus said that discipleship is costly. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters feel this only too pointedly. For many, especially in Muslim countries, the pressure goes beyond prestige and acceptance, and the consequences go beyond popularity and economics. So often, the choice to follow Jesus, always a life-or-death decision in eternity, is also a life-or-death situation on earth. Following Jesus costs everything.


We are not insulated from persecution in the west, though up to now we have been insulated from the severe forms of persecution that these Christians face daily. As a result of that blessing, many of us have forgotten that discipleship comes at a price. Too many Christians in our day have a lackadaisical attitude about discipleship, and too many Churches foster that attitude. They forget that following Christ is a high calling.
 
Following Jesus means accepting a call to something bigger than you. Jesus is calling you and me to come and die to ourselves and live for Him. That’s the meaning of discipleship. It’s the heart of worship. Discipleship is costly. Transformation requires sacrifice and submission to what God wants to do in you. Jesus gave Himself to us, and now He calls us to give ourselves to Him in return.

 

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