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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, February 25, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Luke 9:18–27

Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”

He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” (NRSV)

Reflection
Jesus said "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it."

Jesus knew that for him taking up a cross was an approaching reality that meant suffering, death, and redeeming life. Thankfully most of us do not have to suffer and die as he did, and yet his words about life are true for every one of us: "those who want to save their life" even today must still "lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it." In other words, those who want to save their life by being selfish and uncaring for others or God's creation are not building up God's kingdom and will not succeed in finding the full life God wants for them. To live the life God intends for each of us means being open to where God is leading and to lose even ourselves. It means giving up petty things and ways of being to achieve and find a fuller, better way of life. That is the true life that God wants for each of us.

To be a follower of Jesus means being willing to do things we never dreamed of doing, to go places we never thought possible, and to do things that will be challenging. It means facing uncomfortable truths and being honest with ourselves and others. It means striving to make the world a better place for God's sake and to help all of God's children when they are in any need. This life of sacrifice God is calling us to will be unique for each of us, and yet through that life we will come to know and be known by God. Only by losing our life, giving it away to help others, will we be able to save our life.

So what life is God calling you to live? The life where you find meaning and purpose by loving God and full awareness by helping others—this is the life God is calling you to live. 

Prayer
Loving God, help me follow you with—in the words of Mary Oliver—this one wild and precious life I have been given, so that I may have true life in you. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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