Jesus says the darndest things.
Like this corker:
Matthew 16:24 New International Version (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Now if I was Jesus marketing manager I would advise against this as his campaign slogan. , “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” It is quite frankly, appalling. That does NOT sound like a fair deal to me. It sounds like something to run run as fast as you can like the gingerbread man from.
I don’t want to deny myself, let’s start with that. I LOVE MYSELF. I surround myself with things that bring me comfort and pleasure. Thanks for coming. I may deny myself but that’s only if it brings me rewards like fitting into the right size dress, there has to be something in it for me.
“I want to carry a heavy burden”
-No one, ever
Perhaps we should read the rest of the verses…
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Errr, well sounds fair EXCEPT FOR THE PART WHERE I LOSE MY LIFE.
I notice that this verse doesn’t say “If you don’t want to lose your life for me, never mind. You asked me into your heart in 1985 and I’m happy to stay in your life as a handy accessory”
So, when you say lose your life you don’t mean, like lose it do you? (The disciples are clearly not setting a good example on this one) You mean choose that more modest tile for my bathroom renovation even though I can afford the more expensive one don’t you?
Cos let’s face it. Whilst there are people following you, being persecuted, tortured and killed for you as I write this, I’m not. I’m sipping coffee.
So, if it’s ok with you I might just water this down a bit.
“whoever wants to be my friend must love themselves, take up a position on a roster and invite me into their heart (whatever that means), For whoever wants to have a better life than their neighbour will be ok as long as they visit me, and whoever gives up the tiles they could have afforded because they are going to donate the difference to the offering will be rewarded.”
C’mon that seems fair yes?
You give… let’s see… your life in a gruesome unjust and excruciating death
And I… hedge my bets and give up some of my money, my time and my tiles.
(BPV) Bec paraphrased version