“And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” –Mathew 10:38
Critics and skeptics sometimes try respecting Christianity with attempts to reshape or reform Jesus. Others try making Jesus sound softer than he is. But if we fail to encounter an offensive and gracious Jesus in the scriptures we may be misinforming ourselves.
Jesus does not merely invite people to follow him for a little morality or solidarity to add to their lives. His mission was not a peacekeeping crusade. It was mission of division. But not a crass or riotous division. It was a division of allegiances.
Today, many people gladly say they are Christians, but hesitate to give their complete allegiance to Jesus. He said that anyone who doesn’t give him their foremost undying allegiance is not worthy of him.
“Whoever loves father or mother ore than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37–38).
I am not worthy of him.
Consider the intensity of who or what you give your love and allegiance to. Doesn’t it seems impossible to love them less than Jesus? Furthermore, it sounds cruel and offensive to hear Jesus say that we are not worthy of him if we don’t.
But he is not trying to take from us as much as he is trying to give to us. He knows the fragility of the human heart. He knows there isn’t a person on earth that can give us what he can give us. No person can give us what our heart really desires and needs.
In Jesus we find life – the truer, more pulsating, colorful, and vivid life. In Jesus, we have security, and an identity. In Jesus, we do not have to find a purpose – he is our purpose. Jesus’ demand for our undying allegiance is a command to live. “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39).
On the surface it seems impossible to love Jesus with a greater intensity than that with which we love our husbands, wives, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers. But with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).