So far this year, I have read several accounts in Genesis in which God’s people illustrate the verse above from Matthew. Noah drops everything and turns his whole life and those of his family to building the ark in order to be set adrift and alone in the world. Abraham was prepared to, and almost did sacrifice his own son’s life to God. Joseph humbly accepted his sudden fall from favourite son to slave and prisoner. Now we see in the passage below, Moses’s mother is forced to comply with the Pharaoh’s decree that all baby boys be thrown in the Nile because she can no longer hide him. So she does what she can to give him a chance and then she gives him up to the river. But she doesn’t give up hope that he might be saved…
Exodus 2:1-4 NLT
About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. The baby’s sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him.
Matthew 16:24-26 NLT
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Jesus is telling his disciples that he will suffer and die at the hands of the authorities in order to fulfil his destiny as God’s son and our saviour. In the passage above he goes on to say that if you are going to be his disciple you to must be prepared to sacrifice you own life if need be. Now that might mean literally following him to death on your own cross, but equally it can mean giving up the life you lived before you knew Jesus and beginning a totally new one. Perhaps that seems impossible right now, but my goal is to let go of all the things I have gained in this world and trust that my soul will survive and that I will know how much that is worth.
Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10, Matthew 16:13-17:9, Psalms 21:1-13, Proverbs 5:1-6