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Jesus is Calling-and It's an Invitation to Come and Die

Have you ever wondered if your relationship with Jesus is where it needs to be? What is your response to this question? Do you do more at church, give more, pray more, read more? Is your response based on "I have to do this" or "I want to do this? I think so many of us come to Jesus, initially, as many did in His healing ministry: we want to get fixed from the things that ail us, bother us, make us spiritually sick. We want to get clean, whole, or whatever else is on our minds. If He was to do this suddenly, how would you respond? In Jesus' ministry, there were once 10 lepers who approached Him begging for healing, 9 from Israel, one Samaritan. When He told them to present themselves to the Priest, as the Law of Moses says, only one came back and thanked Him...and it was not His Jewish brethren, but the outsider Samaritan (the one who was hated and reviled by Jewish culture anyway). All 10 had their problems fixed, only one showed any gratitude at all. Can I propose something to you? Even should all of our problems be fixed by Jesus tomorrow, many of us would not be ready, like the 9, to receive it: our hearts would be on ourselves, and what we will do once our problem is fixed. In the same way, when we come to Christ, for many of us, it is for a good reason: we need healing (whether spiritual, emotional, or physical), we're tired of being sinners, we need to feel right in our lives, to go to heaven when we die, or it's time to do it. These are all good reasons, but if that is all there is, than we're missing the point. The call of Jesus is always a call to come and die. We don't merely need to be fixed. We need to let the old person die, and be brought back to life, born again by water and Spirit. It is the powerful imagery of Baptism, dying to our old self (for the remission of sin), being buried with Christ, and rising a new Creation and receiving the Holy Spirit. What is more, we receive Christ! He is the ultimate gift for our surrender! He is the goal, the reason for all things. Our goal should be to look like Him, and so the invitation to Jesus is always a call to die. And just as we give our lives to Christ, so, too, should our lives be given for others. We should give our lives so that others may know Him, and then teach them to do the same. The life of a Jesus follower is one of being a constant living sacrifice. It is how Jesus lived, and it is how we, too, should live. Have you answered the call? Are you coming to die, or are you coming to get fixed? To come and die is the superior way, indeed, the only way. We must be born again. Luke 9:23-27 English Standard Version (ESV)

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

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