Our scripture this morning is Matthew 16:24-28.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
Jesus taught that our way, the way of the world, is a dead end. He told us “if you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it” (v. 25). This is hard for us to hear but He wants us to know that human things are only temporary, and that God has something much greater planned.
He says plainly that we will be judged for our actions here and that we can only be saved by giving up our selfish ways. He came to offer forgiveness and the promise of eternal life to those who choose Him over the earthly things we think are important. Only by repenting of our wrongdoing and following Him can we escape the cycle of sin.
God has had a plan for our redemption all along and Jesus came to show us our role in this. Not only can we be saved but we are called to be part of the kingdom work, sharing God’s love and mercy with everyone. We are all called to participate in His creation, spreading the Good News of salvation to all our brothers and sisters.
Loving Lord, we are grateful for Your grace given to us through our savior, Jesus Christ. Help us to turn from sin, take up our own cross and follow in faith. Amen.