Matthew 10:37-38 (NIV)
37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
If I were to choose a symbol to represent the Christian faith I certainly would not choose the symbol the Church has selected. The Cross would not even be in the running. If I wanted to select a symbol or rebrand the Church I would choose something like dollar signs, famous people, nice vacation homes in the Caribbean, fancy clothes and fast cars and lots of food.
Apparently, my ideas were never considered. The slick Madison Avenue marketers must not have been consulted. The symbol some saint of the past chose was a cross. How appalling to select a Cross instead of these ideas. Does the church not get it about mankind, they want things now, not later, things that are pleasurable, not painful. They want to hide any pictures of death or suffering or at least dress them up so every one thinks they are going on a picnic instead of to their own death.
This is not the way of our Lord. He tells it like it is. He puts the cost of following him right up front. There is no deception with Jesus, only gut wrenching honesty, honesty about the cost, honesty about our need for total redemption, honesty about how the message will be received.
Why tell everyone all the cost upfront, why not get them in and then slowly over time, as they get acclimated, reveal to them the real cost? Answer: Jesus is not into bait and switch or deceptive practices, he desires true followers who value him over everything else in life.
Some may complain this makes Jesus sound like some egomaniac who desires our full attention or he will get mad. Nothing could be further from the truth. He knows what we most need and what it will cost to obtain our greatest joy so he puts the price right up front.
No hidden costs, no surprises later on just honesty and truth.
The Cross is my only way to the Father. Unless I die to myself and see Christ as most valuable I will never know or experience the everlasting joy that can be mine in Christ. So I must admit my need of such radical redemption that puts me on the cross so that I might die to all my wicked ways and in exchange receive everlasting life from the only one who can give such.
I will glory in the Cross for it is God’s way of rescuing me from myself and giving me his life in exchange.