Our scripture this week is Luke 21:5-19.

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me.
Luke 21:16-17

Jesus has strong words about what will come for His followers. These are hard to hear, but necessary. Jesus has told us before that things will be difficult – “For I have come┬áto set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36). It’s not a pretty picture or the promise of the easy way.

Jesus wants us to follow him in truth and love, and that means choosing Him over everything else, even those who are closest to us. We must be ready to give up whatever binds us to this life, including possessions and relationships. Anything that stands between us and Him is a stumbling block we must avoid.

So is Jesus telling us not to have anything or love anyone? No, but He is saying that these things can’t give us the satisfaction and fulfillment of being close to God. On the last day, only that will matter.

Loving Lord, we are weak and we grasp for the things we want here on earth. Help us to see that nothing we have or do can save us, that only our relationship with You leads to salvation. Amen.

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