Summary: Have you ever looked at the road ahead of you and thought, “I’m not so sure I want to do this”? Ever faced something you knew was going to be harder than anything you had attempted in quite a long while and expected that you wouldn’t make it? Have you bee
These are some of the statements I found in a few of the recent “Help Wanted” ads on a local website.
There is a lot of diversity in this position for someone who wishes to gain experience in a variety of different areas. We offer a small company
environment, with significant learning opportunities and earning potential across a number of different areas.
This is a 40 hr/wk position. We do not work you to death. We are looking for quality, not quantity.
If you are a people person, love to work with numbers or just would like to have a six figure income - then you are who we need!
Now’s the time to get in on this ground floor opportunity and position yourself for growth.
They sound quite nice, don’t they? All of them sound like just the place any person would be happy to work, don’t you think? What do you think they aren’t telling us? Think about the job that you last applied for. What was the “come-on” that got you to pursue a position with that company? What did you find out later that wasn’t in the ad that you wish you had known before you went there?
Think about all of the things you have said, “I wish I had known this before,” about. Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone had told you the real truth ahead of time? Probably would have changed the road you chose more than once, wouldn’t it? Well, that’s what Jesus is doing for the disciples in our text today. He is telling His disciples ahead of time what their road will look like.
Have you ever looked at the road ahead of you and thought, “I’m not so sure I want to do this”? Ever faced something you knew was going to be harder than anything you had attempted in quite a long while and expected that you wouldn’t make it? Have you been faced with danger and not been at all certain you were going to make it out okay?
What were those situations like and how did you get there? Did you know a long time in advance that you were going to face what you faced, or did it take you completely by surprise? Would you have avoided it if you had known what was going to happen?
Did you make it? Were you all right? Do you know with certainty that at the time God was there with you, right in the midst of it, taking you through it? Do you realize that He knew ahead of time that you were going to be in that predicament and allowed it for His own purposes?
These are questions that seem easy to ask sitting on this side of those times of hardship and trouble, those times of torment and pain. The questions about God and His involvement are easy to be super-spiritual sounding about now that those things are behind you – or, maybe you’re in the middle of one of those times right now and are asking similar questions even today. Let’s talk about this and get to the truth, shall we?
Jesus sat down one sunny afternoon and told His disciples that He was intentionally sending them out like timid sheep in the midst of ravenous wolves, and that a day would come when they would be sold-out by those closest to them and given over to the authorities to be beaten with whips until they were bloody, even put to death. They were to be as innocent and honest and non-threatening as doves.
So, which do you think is better? The truth ahead of time, or go ahead and fib to me and I’ll deal with whatever comes later?
Notice that Jesus doesn’t lie to them and tell them that their service is going to be trouble-free, delightful-every-day and amazingly successful. A lot of what is told people today about being a follower of Jesus Christ is full of those kinds of lies – that their life will be so much nicer and better and they’ll have a lot less trouble if they’ll just come to Jesus.
Jesus Himself said just the opposite. Jesus is promising here in the conversation recorded for us in our text today (as He does on several other occasions) that persecution and suffering are a guarantee for those who would follow Him. In just a few more verses, we’ll see that Jesus said, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me (10:38).” On another occasion, Jesus will say something quite similar; “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me (Mark 8:34).’”