32凡在人面前認我的、我在我天上的父面前、也必認他。 33凡在人面前不認我的、我在我天上的父面前、也必不認他。 34你們不要想我來、是叫地上太平．我來、並不是叫地上太平、乃是叫地上動刀兵。 35因為我來、是叫人與父親生疏、女兒與母親生疏、媳婦與婆婆生疏． 36人的仇敵、就是自己家裏的人。 37愛父母過於愛我的、不配作我的門徒、愛兒女過於愛我的、不配作我的門徒。 38不背著他的十字架跟從我的、也不配作我的門徒。 39得著生命的、將要失喪生命．為我失喪生命的、將要得著生命。
If possible, read the whole chapter to see the full picture of what is happening here. Then focus on the following section:
32“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn ” ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – 36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 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; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
1. The marks of Jesus’ disciples according to this passage include: acknowledging Jesus before men (v32), placing loyalty to Christ above even the bonds of family (vv34-35), taking up his cross and following Jesus by subjecting one’s will to God even as Jesus chose to subject Himself to the cross (v38), surrendering all for the sake of his Lord (v37).
2. It seems that the disciple’s life is all “give up” and no “gain”. However, as Jesus’ disciple go out to minister, they will have the joy of knowing that it was through him or her that others were thus blessed. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.”(I Thes. 19)
3. What does “take his cross and follow Jesus” mean to me? How am I sharing Christ’ suffering in discipleship? Have I experience the joy Paul talked about?
Prayer & Journaling:
Stay with God for a little while longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in the 2011 “Spiritual Journal” book.