It’s not the size of the crowd…

… it’s the size of the cross in the crowd.

At least, that’s what Jesus says. And he says it because large crowds had started following him and listening to his message.

They had seen the miracles he performed. They respected him for his teaching with authority. They loved the way he displayed grace and mercy to the poor, the ill, the injured and the hurting.

But Jesus looked at the crowds and made a bold statement. In effect, that strong statement asked each one in that crowd to examine his or her own heart.

Were they ready to make sacrifices to follow Jesus? What if those sacrifices involved something really big, or even someone really important?

Jesus says that if we resist that kind of sacrifice for his sake and refuse to carry our cross (as Jesus first carried his for us), then we cannot be his disciple.

That’s a strong expectation from Jesus. But then again, this is the same Jesus who sacrificed his life for us, to make himself the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

It’s said that no great leader ever asks those following him to do something that the leader himself is unwilling to do.

The thing is, as big a sacrifice as Jesus demands from us, his sacrifice for us was greater still.

“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:25-27, NIV).

Our Bible reading for Sunday, April 12, is Deuteronomy 16:21 – 18:22, Luke 14:15-35 and Psalm 44:13-26.

Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice for me. Help me to make sacrifices for you too. I want to make those out of gratitude for your love. I want to carry my cross for you, as you once carried yours for me.

Header image based on "Jesus Cross" by Claudio Ungari, CC By 2.0

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pastorjeffgunn

I'm married to my beautiful wife Julie and have five kids whose names all begin with the letter A. I'm a pastor at CrossWalk Church in Phoenix, AZ. I love Jesus, my wife, my kids, and my grandkids. Huge Arizona Cardinals fan! Reading, hiking, camping, travel, and fishing are my top 5 downtime pleasures.

One thought on “It’s not the size of the crowd…”

  1. Our Bible reading for Sunday, April 12, is Deuteronomy 16:21 – 18:22, Luke 14:15-35 and Psalm 44:13-26.

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (‭Luke‬ ‭14‬:‭26-27‬ NIV)

    Heavenly Father, you have given me life on this earth. A life full of wonders, yet full of sin. In Christ you have given us the ultimate sacrifice. Lord I praise you today, tomorrow, and for all my time for that sacrifice. That peace and hope that brings such joy to my life. Lord help to shoulder my burdens and make a sacrifices for love just as you have done for me. Lord help me carry my cross. Father I am a sinner, just a man in need of grace. Help others find your grace. Be it through your Spirit, your church, your children, help them find your unfailing love.

    Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love. (‭Psalm‬ ‭44‬:‭23-26‬ NIV)

    ~Paul Montenieri

    Like

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