CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
March 20, 2022
What price are we asked to pay?
Jesus is seeing large crowds following him. As was mentioned before, many are following because of the incredible miracles that are occurring, sometimes on a daily basis. Either many have things they are hoping Jesus will take care of, or maybe some just want to see what happens next. Some truly recognize Jesus as a special man of God and, for that reason, want to see where it all leads. Jesus, sensing many may be following for the wrong reasons, has this very direct conversation with the large crowd that is there at the time. Jesus says something that seems to go way over the top. In verse 26 we read, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters –yes even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” How many of those there in that place would agree that anything Jesus just said could be true? What would be our reaction if someone from behind this pulpit authoritatively said, “This is how you must think and behave.” If the person seemed to really mean it, some, maybe most, would get up and walk out. What kind of crazy man would say such things, let alone expect you to really live your life that way? Jesus completes the 27th verse by saying, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” So, it seems to imply if you will not turn your back on our family and carry your own load, you will never be Jesus’ true follower.
In the next six verses Jesus goes on to explain further what he means. Jesus gives two totally different examples of what he means. The first talks of building a tower and how a person will understand what it will take and how much it will cost before they would ever start such a project. The next talks of a person actually about to wage war. Jesus actually uses an example of when the one preparing to wage war has half the size of army as the one he is about to fight. In that case, you better know you can win before you start the war or you will be defeated and humiliated. Jesus even goes as far as to say if once you assess your chances, and if it looks like you probably will lose, you better make peace before anything ever happens. Jesus is explaining one must be willing to give up everything in order to be victorious.
So, what does it all mean? Jesus, once again, claims that you must be willing to hate everyone important to you in life, even yourself, if you want to be his disciple. Does that make any sense at all? As we now know, Jesus is getting closer and closer to his appointment with the cross. Jesus also knows lots of people that have been following him think everything is always going to be easy. After all, Jesus has made the lame walk, the blind to see, driven demons out of people, even raised people from the dead. As long as we stay close to Jesus, nothing can hurt us is what many were thinking. Jesus knows it is about to change. The cost of following Jesus is going to be going way up. The question is what are you prepared to do? What price are you willing to pay to be a full time, forever follower of Jesus?
Jesus closes out these verses by again comparing his followers to salt. Jesus is saying that salt adds flavor or nutrients to life, but if it no longer is salty, it is good for nothing and is thrown out.” Jesus believes the time for honesty is here. The free and easy ride the people that have followed Jesus have been on is about to end. While they have seen some opposition, things have been good. It is time to begin thinking about just where you stand and what you are willing to do when it gets hard. Jesus gave as tough an example as he possibly could when he talked of the need to actually hate everyone near and dear to you if you are to be a disciple. Jesus wanted everyone to know that opposition is coming. It will come from all sides. Even your own family may not understand why you are staying loyal to God through Jesus. When you stand for God’s truth and his word, people will disagree with you. That is why it is so important to understand before the pressure comes. What are you willing to do for the cause of Christ? God wants us to have our priorities in the right order. Our faithfulness to God must be number 1 in our life. God does want us to love our families as well, but sometimes that may mean there will be disagreements, especially when it comes to our allegiance to Jesus Christ.
As we continue to get closer to Easter, we should continue to understand our relationship with God and with one another. Who truly has first place in our lives? That can be a tough question to answer. God wants us to be willing to honestly know the answer. We are sometimes challenged to know the answer to that question. What is the price God is asking us to be willing to pay? And are we willing to pay it? As disciples of the Living Savior, our life will be the best it can be and our families will reap the benefits as well if we are willing to surrender all to Jesus.
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday
March 20—One Great Hour of Sharing offering—envelopes are in the back. Make checks out to our church.
March 30 11:30 Women’s Fellowship luncheon and meeting;
Bring a covered dish; meat & drink provided; a time of visiting and reconnecting
April 10 – 17 Holy Week
April 13 Executive Committee
April 16 Food Bank Distribution at Kirby Medical Group, Cerro Gordo, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!
Donation Box: Camp Emmanuel
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook
Keep in Your Prayers
Leah Flory; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the District’s Church Revitalization & Development Team & other District teams.
Church of the Brethren vision statement:
Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.