Following Christ

Matthew 16:21-28

I am sure most people have played “Follow the Leader.” It is a simple game, but it can become quite complicated if the leader heads in a direction the rest of the players do not want to go. Would you follow the leader if he walked along the edge of a steep cliff? Seeing such a path filled with extreme challenges is a stumbling block, especially if following the leader means giving up all you have and heading to Jerusalem to be killed for the sake of others. But that is exactly what Jesus did and he calls people to follow him along this same path.

Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Our Lord calls his people to be living sacrifices, unselfishly denying ourselves, placing the needs of others ahead of our own. Only when we do this can we truly say we are following our leader.

There are many false leaders in this world. They sway would-be followers making empty promises not ever intended to be kept. These imposters cannot forgive sins, heal our infirmities, or grant us everlasting life. Following Jesus brings forgiveness and grace. Trusting in him only opens the gates of heaven to all who believe.

Prayer: Holy God, help us to follow your Son as he leads us along the path of righteousness. Amen.

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