Mathew 16:24, 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. We are about to participate in yet another Good Friday. The day we commemorate the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. In today’s times, families are no longer about togetherness and the feeling of oneness. It’s all about I, ME, MYSELF. Everyone desires to be the center of attraction. Our Lord has said that we need to deny ourselves and follow Him. That means to give up the idea of I, Me and selfishness. Man is in the mad race to secure the future. No one is ready for self-sacrifice. At the same time, they do not shy away to profit from the sacrifices made by others. There is no guilt, remorse or, regret in doing so. Jesus has said that such people are not capable of following Him. https://www.godtube.com/popular-hymns/at-the-cross-alas-and-did-my-savior-bleed-/
Luke 9: 51-56,51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village. Here we see that when things did not go as desired even the disciples wanted punishment for Samaria. This is exactly the mentality of today’s generation.
Today’s world is driven by greed and lust. The devil has slaved the hearts and minds of people. Nowadays, resorting to violence is trivial and normal in the course of fulfilling one’s selfish desires. Jesus has asked to deny ourselves and follow Him. Here man should learn to give up on certain desires and wants. Jesus asked us to sacrifice ourselves for Him. Without it Christian living is meaningless.
In Colossians 3:5, 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Disciple Paul says to us to give up the earthly nature of desires. He continues in Galatians 2:20, 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Mathew 11:29, 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. The generation Z sees gentle and humble nature as a weakness. Then how can they bring it to application in their lives???
Let me share a short story with you. There once was a sage who had given up on all worldly charms. He lived his daily life on the alms he received from people who were generous. One day while begging for alms he found a silver coin on the road. He picked it up and started walking. Rubbing it between his fingers he wished that it had been a gold coin. He started saving from the alms he received to exchange the silver coin for a gold coin. With the silver coin in hand, the sage started to burn with the desire of owning a gold coin. This desire made him rich. His lifestyle changed. Along with it, he lost all interest in the way of the Lord. At the time he used to meditate, he was now occupied counting his gold coins. Sage had now become a greedy man. Lord Jesus has said in Mathew 6:24, 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. The way of the Lord’s disciples was not made with rose petals. They gave up everything and followed Jesus. Eleven of them became martyrs. Only worldly Judas betrayed Jesus for mere 30 pieces of silver. Everyone is aware of the end of Judas.
The mistake man makes today is that he thinks he can have both God and money together in his hands. How pitiful!!! In times when luxuries have increased manifold is it possible to live a life of sacrifice and denying oneself? Everyone should ask themselves this question. For believers, the Cross is not a mere piece of wood. It is the symbol of self-sacrifice and suffering of our Lord for our redemption. With Jesus or without Jesus’ image on the cross, what thought crosses your mind?? The suffering at Calvary?? Has that suffering been restricted to thoughts during the Lent season??? Today with the press of a button or a swipe we can satisfy the god of hunger and the gods of desires. The Cross and Suffering of Christ has become buried under these.
Dear children of God, this Good Friday can we try to follow Jesus by denying ourselves a little?? May this Good Friday be the beginning of a transformation for each one of us. Dear parents can you start this today in your families???
Let’s sing together the hymn
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away
’Tis all that I can do.
Words: Isaac Watts (1707)