What I read: Luke 9
Observations: As I read Luke 9 I had this thought: “It must have been hard to follow Jesus.” Here’s what I mean. He doesn’t always answer questions when they are put to him. He doesn’t often explain himself, and even when he does, his disciples don’t seem to totally get his explanations. People are crowding around to get a better look at him, but when they do Jesus seems almost more interested in driving them away than he does in bringing them close to him. And even after some real highlight kind of moments, he seems to be throwing a damper on things – Peter declares him to be the Messiah, and then Jesus says that he is going to give his life at Jerusalem. Three of them go up on a mountain and see Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus, and then they come down to see Jesus calling people a faithless generation and wondering how long he will have to put up with them. It just seems like it would have been a hard thing to do, and I think too often I don’t give those first 12 men nearly enough credit for it because I assume it was easier for them because they could physically see Jesus.
Application: I guess this is along the lines of what I wrote yesterday, but it seems to be recurring for me here, which probably means I should pay attention to it. One of Jesus’ more difficult sayings is found in the middle of this passage – if you want to follow me, then you have to take up your cross to follow me. You have to be willing to lose your life to find it in the end. You have to take the risk I call you to take in order to see the life I want you to lead. More often than not I’m content to try to save my life now. What if instead of looking for those options, I really let Jesus lead me where he wants me to go? What if I stopped worrying about how to gain the world, and instead starting worrying more about how to give up my life?
Prayer: Jesus, I admit that sometimes I think I have you figured out, like Peter did. And I resist allowing you to push on my understanding of you because it makes me uncomfortable. But today I pray that you would stretch me in this area. I don’t want to play it safe, and I don’t want to keep you in a box where I can take you out and see what I think about you from time to time. I really want to follow you like those first 12 men did, even when I’m confused, or when I doubt, or when I’m afraid, or when I don’t understand you. I want to lose myself in becoming who you’ve planned for me to be. I don’t want to gain the world and lose out on my soul, on living the life you created me to live. So once again today I submit myself to you and ask that you would lead me in the way you want me to go, so that through me you might somehow receive some small measure of honor and glory.