Summary: The Text is the Gospel Reading for Common Lectionary, Year B, the theme is characteristics of a Disciple as seen in this text.
Finally, a disciple of Jesus must “Follow Him.” To follow Jesus means that by the power of the Holy Spirit living in me I “imitate and His leading,” that I “act according to His example. His life is the pattern for living my own. It means I imitate Him completely and continuously consecrate my life to Him. In the words of my favorite praise chorus, it means:
“You are my strength when I am weak;
You are the treasure that I seek;
You are my all in all.
Seeking You as a Precious Jewel,
Lord to give up, I’d be a fool
You are my all in all.”
[--Dennis L. Jernigan, “You Are My All in All,” (Nashville:
WORD, Inc., Shepherd’s Heart Music, 1990).]
Jesus’ rhetorical question in verse 37, “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul” clarifies what it means to follow Him. Worldliness has no lasting value. Only our personal, daily relationship with Him as our Saviour and Lord pays eternal dividends. As C. S. Lewis says in The Four Loves: “All human beings pass away. Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose. If love is to be a blessing, not a misery, it must be for the only beloved who will never pass away” [--C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves. Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 9.].
Ron Lee Davis in his sermon entitled “Rejoicing in Our Suffering” tells this story: “I remember Tom Landry telling me in the mountains of Colorado years ago, just after they had won the Super Bowl (the Dallas Cowboys, year after year, had been coming so close, and finally that victory had come), ‘The overwhelming emotion—in a few days, among the players on the Dallas Cowboys football team—was how empty that goal was. There must be something more’” [--Ron Lee Davis, “Rejoicing in Our Suffering,” Preaching Today, Tape 74.]. That more is a daily walk with Jesus in which He is our Lord and Master and we are His disciples:
“Only one life will soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Jesus calls all of us to be His disciples: to deny ourselves; to take up our cross daily; and to follow Him. Are you His disciple, or are you only a Christaholic? The choice is up to you. “LET US PRAY . . .”
“THE SURRENDERED WILL”:
LAID ON YOUR ALTAR, O MY LORD, DIVINE,
ACCEPT MY GIFT THIS DAY, FOR JESUS’ SAKE;
I HAVE NO JEWELS TO ADORN YOUR SHRINE,
NO WORLD-FAMED SACRIFICE TO MAKE;
AND HERE I BRING WITHIN MY TREMBLING HANDS
THIS WILL OF MINE, A THING THAT SEEMS SMALL;
YET YOU ALONE CAN UNDERSTAND
THAT WHEN I YIELD YOU THIS, I YIELD YOU ALL!
--JAMES S. HEWETT, ILLUSTRATIONS UNLIMITED (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1988), 98.