Prayer: O God, teach me how to follow you through your Word, in Christ. Amen.
Third Sunday after Pentecost
38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Our devotion writer begins; “This section of Matthew’s gospel describes how Jesus called the twelve disciples and sent them out to share the good news of God’s kingdom. They must have felt special to be selected to serve in this way. But here Jesus reminded them that it wouldn’t be easy—they must take up his cross to do so.” It can be dangerous to be a Jesus supporter. In some countries, it can mean death in a terrible way.
Sharing Jesus’ story, although probably not life threatening in our communities, it still takes courage to tell about Jesus when our culture often criticizes us for doing so. If we are not careful we might abuse a non-believer’s rights.
It is therefore important for us to join together to hear God’s word and take Holy Communion to become nourished and prepared for our work sharing Jesus love and peace and to carry His cross.
Prayer: “Thank you, Jesus, for calling us to follow you and giving us strength to do so. Amen.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
24 “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
Whom to Fear
26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
Not Peace, but a Sword
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.