It seems that for most things worth pursuing in life there is a cost before there is a benefit. For example, a medical doctor may earn a handsome living for his/her services but the cost beforehand was the price was that of attending medical school, enduring the stress of internship and building a reputation.
In the celebration of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the same principle is also true. As God’s Son, Jesus endured the pain, physically and spiritually, of the cross, before the triumph of the resurrection. He promised the disciples that the same way in which they had seen him ascend to heaven they would see Him come again. But there was a price!
For the follower of Jesus Christ, for those who have recognized what God says about them is true, and that they are sinners who have fallen far short of God’s expectations. Without such a realization it would be impossible for them to recognize their need for a Saviour. The cost of their confession comes at a heavy price. The acceptance and recognition that only God has the solution to grant us forgiveness and hope is costly and brings many benefits.
Jesus said to His disciples that any one who wants to follow him must first of all deny himself. Think about that for a minute and how counter cultural that is! We live in a time and place where we are told the opposite, are we not? If you feel it is right then it must be right, we are taught through the education system and through the media. Jesus seems like He is out of touch with the current philosophy of life. But…if you want to follow Him, there is a price to pay. Here it is, you may want to sit down before you ready this. Jesus said that we are to pick up our cross and follow Him! “Stop the presses!” What? “Pick up the cross and follow Him?”
Those who lived in the first century knew exactly what He was talking about! The cross was an instrument of death in the first century. Jesus advertisement to attract followers was to pick up the cross and die to self! Not a very attractive plan to say the least! Die to your own desires, die to the plan you have for your life! Wow! Who in the world would to that? The answer…Only those in whom the Spirit of God has convicted of sin, righteousness and judgement can truly understand the true purpose of the events of Easter. Those who embrace Jesus, and that Jesus alone has paid the price for our sin and satisfied the righteousness of God. Yes, it is pretty exclusive; it is those who have come to believe the cost of dying to self and sin has great benefits.
If you die to yourself, you live to God! It is the only way of salvation and the only way to become a Christ-follower. During the celebration of the passion of Christ and His resurrection this is what we remember. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves!
My friend, have fully embraced the gospel? Count the cost and embrace it if you have never done so before. The cost is well worth the benefit you will receive!