Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” Mark 8:34 – 9:1
I sometimes wonder what the disciples heard when Jesus said this phrase. The suggestion that we take up our burdens and challenges, denying ourselves and following him can be hard to hear. Yet, the cost of discipleship is nothing less that being very human and still stepping out. The reality of our lives is that we do not wait for perfection, we move when God calls us and knowing our brokenness and frailty can work for the blessing of others. I try to avoid my call, had all sorts of excuses, tried to put the call on others but in the end it was my job to put one foot in front of the other and follow.
Jesus is talking to the crowd and the disciples. Many just wanted a quick healing and to go about their lives, unchanged. Jesus knew that there was a need for all of us to give up ourselves for the life of the world. It cannot be about number one, the self. Life is about the whole community and we are called to step out in faith despite the weights we bear and the fears that gather around us. In this time of increased fear God needs us evermore to be stepping out in faith, not holding back, making love the gift we bring to each and every encounter.
Today I ask God to help me keep stepping out, keep walking and following Jesus. May our lives be examples of letting go of fear and moving in faith, so that love, which casts our fear, might be spread far and wide.