A call to follow Christ is a call to suffer—a call to die to your old self and old life.
We’ve all heard a variation of the story of how our parents had to walk to and from school. Uphill both ways. In the snow. Give an example of how the next generation has it much easier than you did.
We are all certainly creatures of comfort; we do not like to be inconvenienced. The idea of suffering is barely comprehensible, yet a call to follow Christ is a call to suffer. Beyond that, we are called to embrace our suffering—not enjoying it but rejoicing in it. This sounds a bit crazy, but Christ-followers are called to be different from the world. The shadow of the cross was upon Jesus throughout His life. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is also upon everyone who chooses to follow Him. Everyone suffers and experiences tragedy; how we respond to the suffering shows how real Jesus is to us.
Primary Scriptures: Mark 8:34-38 and Luke 14:25-35
- Read Mark 8:34. Everyone listening knew exactly what the cross meant: suffering and death. Why do you think Jesus put it this way? Did He really mean it?
- Continue reading Mark 8:35-38. Discuss what you feel Jesus means in verse 35. How have you experienced this “losing” and “saving” in your own life?
- In verse 36, Jesus warns that we can gain acceptance and praise from the world, yet lose our souls in the process. Give some examples of how you see this happening in our modern culture.
- Read Luke 14:25-35. Jesus gives two examples of counting the cost: before beginning a project and before going to war. The theme of both was to make sure you will be able to finish what you start. How do you count the cost of following Him?
- The hot, dry climate of the first century Middle East, coupled with no refrigeration, made salt a very important commodity. It was not only used for seasoning, but had the added importance of preserving meat, especially fish. Once salt lost its saltiness, it was no longer of any use and was discarded. It went from being important and of great value, to being unfit for any use. Jesus knew His audience would be very much aware of the role of salt in their daily lives. He was using this to illustrate His followers being the “salt of the earth,” and what would happen if they lost their saltiness. How do followers of Jesus lose their saltiness?
Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Luke 14:25-35 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.