Passage: Matthew 16
(Context: Christ makes a shift away from offering the Kingdom to offering the Gospel to the world. The Jews had rejected Him as King, so He would become their Savior instead, as was prophesied. With this change in pursuit came a change in thinking: suffering was to become a staple in the Christian’s life, be it persecution, false accusation, or becoming a cultural laughingstock.)
I wish I was spiritual enough to be able to say with complete surety that I would die for my faith, for the Bible, and for the Gospel. I wonder what I would do if the time came to test such a resolution? Imagine a machine gun in your face with a masked man screaming: “Do you renounce that Christ is God?” Imagine a Radical Muslim (that would be a true Muslim, by the way) holding a long knife to your throat, ready to decapitate you: “Do you renounce your faith? Will you proclaim that there is only one god, Allah, and that his prophet is Mohammed?”
It could happen. It has happened. It will happen again.
I wonder if the disciples “counted the cost” when Jesus taught them about this very real possibility? Did they take Him literally, that their life would be in peril for living like and for Jesus?
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? ” (Matthew 16:24-26)
The real question, here brilliantly expressed by Jesus, is not if we are willing to die for our faith. The true question is this: Is this life more valuable to you than the next? Perhaps God will one day bless me or you with the opportunity to give our lives for Christ. Yet, if we never get the chance, I hope we live showing the next life to be supremely more valuable than this life—because it is.