And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life[d] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)
In my personal study this morning, I read these very words of Jesus. They've been rattling around in my head. I had to ask myself, through both prayer, and study, and thinking: "What does it mean to be ashamed of Jesus?" Some people consider this to mean not talking about Him. Some consider it to mean not going to church, or hiding your faith from others. I think those are contributors to being ashamed. Yet, consider what Paul wrote: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,e as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Do Paul's words change your thinking on being ashamed? And what did Paul do for the Gospel? He was shipwrecked, stoned near to death, imprisoned, beaten, had riots incited against him, put on trial, arrested, and eventually killed for the sake of the Gospel. Paul's entire life was wrapped up in and centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In our relationships, our jobs, our studies, our families or whatever else the Lord may place us in or near, is our life wrapped up in and centered upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Do we show the Gospel of Jesus Christ and put Him on when we go to the grocery store or the salon, or watch TV, or browse social media? Is Jesus the center of our relationships with our families, neighbors, friends, coworkers, fellow students and enemies? If not, we should all ask ourselves: do my actions say I'm ashamed of Jesus? We might have Christian T-Shirts (I'm wearing one right now), car decals, and many other things surrounding Him, but if our lives are not an active pursuit of Jesus, denying ourselves, and taking up our cross, are we hiding Him from those we know? Don't be ashamed of Jesus. Pick up your cross, deny yourself, and follow!