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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

Follow Jesus

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Matthew 8:18–22
 
Photo of Bonhoeffer with quote
 
God wants us to face our concerns honestly and gives us the Holy Spirit to shed light on the truth of Scripture.
 
Today’s passage is a perfect example of a passage of Scripture that can cause us difficulties.  A number of people approach Jesus, ostensibly desiring to follow him, but each is rebuffed by the Lord in a way that can appear harsh and unreasonable.
 
We can just about understand the man who is enthusiastic to follow Jesus, but who is informed of Jesus’s nomadic and precarious existence – that even vermin and poultry have somewhere to rest at night, but not the Son of Man.  It is the next approach that can cause us concern, because the would-be disciple who wants first to bury his dead father is rebutted with harsh words, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead”.
 
The truth is that discipleship is radical and requires us to decide to follow Christ at any cost.  Jesus was telling them that following him required sacrifices, some quite radical: that they had to choose Jesus above everything else.
 
When Christ calls us he invites us to come with him and to die to the old life; in this way we can rise with him to the new life of the resurrection.
 
”The cross is laid on every Christian.  The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world.  It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ . . . When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die . . . [I]t is the same death every time — death in Christ, death of the old man at his call.”  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship).
 
Chris
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