Summary: As we consider the risks in following Christ, we need to acknowledge that He is the Christ headed for the cross; therefore, it will cost to follow Him, but the risk is worth it, because being with Christ is the only way to live!
A man named Fred inherited a huge land grant, but the will provided that he could choose land in either Chile or Brazil. He chose Brazil. Unhappily, if he had chosen Chile, he would have received his inheritance in land on which they had recently discovered uranium, gold and silver. But he chose Brazil.
When he arrived in Brazil he had to choose between receiving his inheritance in a coffee plantation or land with Brazil nut trees. He chose the nut trees, and immediately the bottom fell out of the nut market, but coffee futures went up two dollars a pound. The government took control of the nut farm for back taxes, and Fred was left destitute.
Fred pawned his Rolex watch for the money he needed to fly either to New York or Boston. He chose Boston. When the plane for New York taxied up, he noticed it was a brand new super Concorde with red carpets. After several hours delay, the plane for Boston arrived. It was a 1928 twin engine plane held together with bailing wire, and it was filled with cigar smokers and unattended crying babies.
Over the mountains one of the engines fell off, and Fred, frightened by his earlier bad choices and fearing for his life, asked for two parachutes. He jumped. As he fell through the air, he tried to make up his mind which ripcord to pull. He pulled the cord on the left, but nothing happened. He pulled the cord on his right, but it broke.
In desperation the poor fellow cried out, “St. Francis, save me!” A great hand from heaven reached down, seized him by the wrist, and left him dangling in mid-air. Then a gentle but inquisitive voice asked, “St. Francis, Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi?” (Dick Meyer, An Anchor in a Sea of Change, Faith@Work, Spring 2000, p.23; www.PreachingToday.com)
The poor guy couldn’t win for losing, but that’s life sometimes. Life is risky, because it’s full of choices where we don’t always know the outcome.
It’s the same with choosing to follow Christ. There is great risk involved, because we don’t always know how people are going to respond to that choice. Some may appreciate the choice because of the changes it brings into our lives. But others may very well reject us for choosing to follow Jesus, because they resent those very changes.
Following Jesus is risky, but is the risk worth it? Is it worth the risk of rejection to go where Jesus leads you to go, to do what Jesus leads you to do, and to be what Jesus leads you to be. Is it worth the risk of rejection to let Jesus change you from the inside out?
Mark 8:27-29 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” (NIV)
As we consider the risks in following Jesus, 1st of all, we must…
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST.
We must understand that Jesus is the Messiah. We must realize that Jesus is the Annointed One - The Prophet, The Priest, & The Ruler of All!
I find it very interesting that Jesus chooses Caesarea Philippi (vs.27) as the place to force the issue with His disciples. You see, Caesarea Philippi was at the foot of the magnificent Mt. Hermon, north of Israel, and the place where the residents had built a great marble temple in honor of Augustus Caesar. The city itself was named after Caesar, the ruler of the world at the time, and it was also named after Herod Philip, the governor of that entire region – hence Caesarea Philippi.
It was a symbol of great political power, but Jesus wants us to know that He is greater than Herod Philip or even Caesar Himself. Jesus is greater than any political power.
And He is greater than any religious power, as well. He is greater than any prophet or priest that ever lived.
You see, people in Jesus day thought He was just another prophet, perhaps Elijah or John the Baptist come back to life. I don’t know about you, but if people said that about me, I would be very flattered. If people said, “Wow! He preaches like Elijah Himself,” I would have trouble getting my head through the door.
But not Jesus! He wants us to understand that He is greater than any political power, and He is greater than any prophet or priest that ever lived.