Dying to Live
Jesus said and did some amazing things while He was here. He made claims which we can’t always reconcile with our world view. No one can admire Jesus as a great teacher and in the same breath say that He was not the only way to heaven; If He wasn’t God – as He claimed – then His great teachings were the rantings of a megalomaniac. We can’t count Him as one among many wise philosophers if He claimed to be superior to all of them.
Neither can we expect, as Jesus teaches in Mark 8:34 – 9:1, to “come into the Father’s glory with the holy angels” if we put our own ambition and comfort above Him. This should really shake up our world view.
Just a few weeks ago I agonized over this very thing. After a long online discussion where many world views were presented, the last to post asserted that there are many paths to God. The discussion had become a little heated, and the underlying subject was not even about God. But how could I allow that false world view be the last word that the participants would see and reflect upon? What would happen if many missed out on “coming into the Father’s glory with the holy angels” because I failed to respond in truth and love? Would my inaction – my own lack of conviction – lead to the loss of eternal souls?
Not responding would have shown that deep down, when I fear confrontation or being judged a fanatic, I’m actually ashamed of Jesus, that I want to save my own life. This passage is fair warning: “for whoever wants to save his life will lose it,” and “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him…”.
Could I bear that shame? I finally responded, correcting that false world view, as gracefully as I could. It was a small, probably meaningless, victory over my own fear of confrontation, but it was necessary if only to teach me the lesson of this passage.