Text: Matthew 16.24-26
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship.
The discipleship Jesus describes in Matthew 16.24 is no light matter: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” The cross in Roman culture was a symbol of execution. So Jesus’ command for each Christian to “take up his cross” is literally an invitation to come and die.
At the heart of being a Christ-follower is a trade: our life for his. We lay down our way of living to take up his way. In every way, real execution is taking place. Selfish priorities of wealth and leisure are executed and replaced by Jesus’ priorities of selfless service and generosity. Strongholds of bitterness and jealously are crucified, being replaced with forgiveness, compassion, and love.
The life Jesus promised comes as we surrender every aspect of our lives to the cross—to die. The triumphant reality is we get his life in return—both in this life and the next! We come to experience “eternal life” here and now.
We believe this happens in The Row, The Circle, and The Chair, three environments where we learn how to lay down our lives to take up his. This leads to this week’s One Big Question . . . Of these three environments of discipleship, in which have you experienced the most growth over the last year? Take time to discuss this with your small group or a close friend.