August 12: At a Great Price
Isaiah 25:1–26:21; Luke 9:1–27; Job 6:1–13
It’s easy to be devoted to a leader or a vision when it doesn’t require much of us. In following Jesus, the disciples didn’t have that option. They were called to follow Jesus in difficult circumstances—ones that required them to put their lives on the line. After Jesus told His disciples about His impending death and resurrection, He defined the true meaning of discipleship. His words required their immediate response and intense loyalty:
“And he said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross every day and follow me’ ” (Luke 9:23).
Daily the disciples needed to commit to Him, the kingdom He was ushering in, and the possibility of facing death. We like to quote this verse, but we might not think it applies in the same way today. Because we don’t face the same circumstances the disciples faced, we might not take the call to loyalty quite as seriously.
But loyalty shouldn’t be dictated by circumstance. Jesus had “to suffer many things and to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed” (Luke 9:22) to reconcile us to God. His sacrifice was incredibly costly; the grace extended to us came at a great price.
His sacrifice—not our circumstances—requires everything from us. It requires that we see our motives, our hopes, our actions—our daily lives—in the perspective of that costly grace. Jesus went on to say, “For what is a person benefited if he gains the whole world but loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25). The gospel changes everything, and it speaks into every area of our lives. It requires us to deny our own interests. It requires us to take up our cross daily and follow Him.
How are you taking up your cross daily? What area of your life do you need to commit to Him?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- O Lord, thou art my God: I will exalt thee, I will praise thy Name: for thou hast done wonderful things, according to the counsels of old, with a stable truth. For thou hast made of a city an heap, of a strong city, a ruin: even the place of strangers of a city, it shall never be built. Therefore shall the mighty people give glory unto thee: the city of the strong nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength unto the poor, even a strength to the needy in his trouble, a refuge against the tempest, a shadow against the heat: for the blast of the mighty is like a storm against the wall. Thou shalt bring down the noise of the strangers, as the heat in a dry place; he will bring down the song of the mighty, as the heat in the shadow of a cloud. And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, even a feast of fined wines, and of fat things full of marrow, of wines fined and purified. And he will destroy in this mountain the covering that covereth all people, and the veil that is spread upon all nations. He will destroy death forever: and the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the rebuke of his people will he take away out of all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And in that day shall men say, Lo, this is our God: we have waited for him, and he will save us. This is the Lord, we have waited for him, we will rejoice and be joyful in salvation. For this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be threshed under hi even as straw is threshed in Madmenah. And he shall stretch out his hand in the midst of them (as he that swimmeth stretcheth them out to swim) and with the strength of his hands shall he bring down their pride. The defense also of the height of thy walls shall he bring down and lay low, and cast them to the ground, even unto the dust. In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah, We have a strong city: salvation shall God set for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates that the righteous nation, which keepeth the truth, may enter in. By an assured purpose wilt thou preserve perfect peace, because they trusted in thee. Trust in the Lord forever: for in the Lord God is strength forevermore. For he will bring down them that dwell on high: the high city he will abase: even unto the ground will he cast it down, and bring it unto dust. The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy. The way of the just is righteousness: thou wilt make equal the righteous path of the just. Also we, O Lord, have waited for thee in the way of thy judgments: the desire of our soul is to thy Name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night, and with my spirit within me will I seek thee in the morning: for seeing thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world shall learn righteousness. Let mercy be showed to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he do wickedly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. O Lord, they will not behold thine high hand: but they shall see it, and be confounded with the zeal of the people, and the fire of mine enemies shall devour them. Lord unto us thou wilt ordain peace: for thou also hast wrought all our works for us. O Lord our God, other lords beside thee, have ruled us, but we will remember thee only, and thy Name. The dead shall not live, neither shall the dead arise, because thou hast visited and scattered them, and destroyed all their memory. Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord: thou hast increased the nation: thou art made glorious, thou hast enlarged all the coasts of the earth. Lord, in trouble have they visited thee: they poured out a prayer when they chastening was upon them. Like as a woman with child, that draweth near to the travail, is in sorrow, and crieth in her pains, so have we been in thy sight, O Lord. We have conceived, we have born in pain, as though we should have brought forth wind: there was no help in the earth, neither did the inhabitants of the world fall. Thy dead men shall live: even with my body shall they rise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people: enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors after thee: hide thyself for a very little while, until the indignation pass over. For lo, the Lord cometh out of his place, to visit the iniquity of the inhabitants of the earth upon them: and the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more hide her slain. Isaiah 25:1–26:21
- Then called he his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to heal diseases. And he sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God, and to cure the sick. And he said to them, Take nothing to your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, nor silver, neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. And how many soever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. And they went out, and went through every town preaching the Gospel, and healing everywhere. Now Herod the Tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he doubted, because that it was said of some, that John was risen again from the dead: And of some, that Elijah had appeared: and of some, that one of the old Prophets was risen again. Then Herod said, John have I beheaded: who then is this of whom I hear such things? and he desired to see him. And when the Apostles returned, they told him what great things they had done. Then he took them to him, and went aside into a solidary place, near to the city called Bethsaida. But when the people knew it, they followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need to be healed. And when the day began to wear away, the twelve came, and said unto him, Send the people away, that they may go into the towns and villages round about, and lodge, and get meat: for we are here in a desert place. But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes, except we should go and buy meat for all this people. For they were about five thousand men. Then he said to his disciples, Cause them to sit down by fifties in a company. And they did so, and caused all to sit down. Then he took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looked up to heaven, and blessed them, twelve baskets full of broken meat. And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answered, and said, John Baptist: and others say, Elijah: and some say, that one of the old Prophets is risen again. And he said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answered, and said: That Christ of God. And he warned and commanded them, that they should tell that to no man, Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be reproved of the Elders, and of the high Priests and Scribes, and be slain, and the third day rise again. And he said to them, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what advantageth it a man, if he win the whole world, and destroy himself, or lose himself? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his glory, and in the glory of the Father, and of the holy Angels. Luke 9:1–27
- But Job answered and said, Oh that my grief were well weighed, and my miseries were laid in the balance! For it would be no heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. For the arrows of the Almighty are in me, the venom whereof doth drink up my spirit, and the terrors of God fight against me. Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox when he hath fodder? That which is unsavory, shall it be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg? Such thing as my soul refused to touch, as were sorrows, are my meat. Oh that I might have my desire, and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! That is, that God would destroy me: that he would let his hand go, and cut me off. Then should I yet have comfort, (though I burn with sorrow, let him not spare) because I have not denied the words of the Holy one. What power have I that I should endure? or what is mine end, if I should prolong my life? Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? Is it not so, that there is in me no help? and that strength is taken from me? He that is in misery, ought to be comforted of his neighbor: but men have forsaken the fear of the Almighty. My brethren have deceived me as a brook, and as the rising of the rivers they pass away. Which are blackish with ice, and wherein the snow is hid. But in time they are dried up with heat and are consumed: and when it is hot they fail out of their places, Job 6:1–13