Bearing the Cross September 8, 2019

13TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

COLOR: GREEN 

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 8TH 2019

TEXTS: LUKE 14: 25 – 33 

THEME: BEARING THE CROSS

I am grateful for your prayers and support when we have been away visiting with family in Kenya. Time went by very quickly that the day we were returning it almost feel we had been there for week even though it was already 4 weeks.

It is always good to back.

While Jesus was preaching and working all the miracles word was spreading fast and many were coming to be taught by him. many chose to follow him because of how they had seen him change the lives of less fortunate: the blind, the sick, the poor, the marginalized. Jesus message was touching the hearts of people and transforming the culture and practices that existed. When Jesus saw that many were offering to follow him, he wanted them to get things right. Jesus was being honest to the many people who had offered to follow him. He wanted them to realize that along the way the going will be tough and only those willing to sacrifice will make it. People may have been influenced by the miracles that Jesus performed and looked forward to experience them everyday. But Jesus was letting them know what it would take to be his disciples. Jesus then, offered them the following realities that we can easily relate with today. To follow Jesus, one would need to be aware of the following realities:

  • Willing to Count the Cost: What kind of cost did Jesus have in mind here? The cost calls us to put Jesus work first before the people we love the most and care the most. That is our family. Jesus gave an example where people have to part ways with their parents their children in order to do the will of God. It might not seem so real to our culture here in America because of the freedom of worship that is guaranteed in our constitution. But we have to realize that there are many parts of the world where one is forced to choose between the family or one’s faith. If one chooses to be a Christian, he or she is disowned by their family and thrown out of the home. Loses their inheritance and their place in the community. In our setting today it might mean having fewer friends especially the youth or face a silent rejection by the peers. We have to always remember the evil forces are at work to compete with our faith everyday. In other words, Jesus was reminding his listeners that following him would make them make decisions. The bible makes it clear of who we need to serve. We can’t serve two masters. The way to the cross is never going to be easy but we know that we have a helper who has chosen to walk with us all the way.
  • Willing to Plan: Planning is important because the journey might be long demanding, and tiring. Jesus gave an example of the one planning to build a house. One would need to plan ahead to prevent them being the one who people would point at for not completing what they had started. Paul reminds us of this very important concept of completing the journey when he writes to Timothy. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Here Paul teaches us three important things in this journey of faith. One, the faith journey is like a fight. A fight against the powers of evil and other things that attempt to pull us away from the journey. It a fight against wrong teaching s and diversion that would keep us off the path. It is fight against wanting to follow the easy way or the wide road. We have to get through the narrow gate. Two, it is a race. Race against time, race against opponents (evil). The race can only be worn if we stay focused and on the path. We have to race toward a goal otherwise we will not get the crown promised us when the journey ends. It was Paul when writing to the Philippian church wrote this important statement, “Beloved I do not consider that I have made it my own, but this one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Philippian 3:13). Three, Keeping the faith. Faith is what keep us going. Paul defines faith as, “Now faith is the assurance of the things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith helps us to stay the course even when we do not have all the answers to what we are facing and what would happen next but in us there is that assurance that comes from the Holy Spirit. Ours is to trust that he who called us is faithful and will help us go through all that we face.
  • Ready to Face Challenges: Jesus reminded them that the would-be practical obstacles that would face them each day. Here Jesus was thinking in terms of all kinds of persecution that would await those wishing to follow him. Jesus himself was crucified for what he taught. The disciples faced persecutions too. Even today there exist persecutions in the world because of being Christians. This because Jesus message was to set captives free and declare the year of the Lord. He was preaching justice, mercy and grace. These concepts would not be emblazed by the people of the day and therefore they sought ways to block this kind of message. There are people and system that will resist the message of Jesus and would make it hard for those who are believers. People may face challenges at the place of work if they work under a boss who might demean or do other bad things to them because they are believers. The devil’s methods of punishing God’s people change with change of times and technology.