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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Devotions on Matthew

Jesus’ Challenge To Follow Him

Matthew 16.24.JPG

Matthew 16:24-28

Jesus was not a shy retiring type of man who always spoke words designed to make everyone feel “included.” He sometimes told it just as it was, without mincing words. He rebuked evil and demanded obedience. No one was excluded from following, but those who chose to do so found the company to be exclusive.

In our devotional passage, Jesus had just rebuked loud-mouthed Peter for attempting to force his will onto God’s plan, rather than God’s plan on Peter’s life. He then expanded the thought in our passage above. He challenged Peter and the other’s to do some things to be a true follower of His; He challenges us to do these things today.

We are to deny ourselves. The biggest thing Jesus wants from us is….us. As we grow in faith we put what we think we want aside, and come to see what He wants. Ultimately we will come to desire the same for ourselves as He desires for us. We are to pick up our cross. We won’t literally have to climb on a cross and die, of course, but the concept is similar. Jesus sacrificed Himself for us; we are to sacrifice our own lives for Him. Finally, we are to follow Him. Friends, this is simply obedience. Sometimes our Lord will issue clear instructions; when that happens we need to follow them. As He did with Peter and the others, Jesus has issued the challenge to us. What will our answer be?

Some Did Not Believe in the Resurrection

Matthew 22.34

Matthew 22:23-33

The Sadducees in Jesus’ time did not believe in the resurrection. They believed that the spirit was not immortal and that there was no life after death; they also believed that humans were neither punished nor rewarded after death.

Although the Sadducees were quite religious, this worldview is not that different from the secular humanist worldview that infects the world today. Under this view what we have in this life is all there is, we make it good or bad totally on our own and when it is finished it is simply finished. At the end we all just return to the random assortment of cells we are.

Under this view, morality becomes a neutral where nothing is good, and nothing is evil. Morality has zero to do with any immutable, objective standard and is only based on what we can do for and get from each other. How sad is a world where the evil we know exists goes unjudged and unpunished?

It is even sadder to contemplate that this life is simply all there is. Friends, life is not always the proverbial bed of roses; sometimes is just not good at all. The secular humanist simply has to live out such a life and wait patiently for it to end so that he becomes nothing. The believer in Jesus Christ has the promise that, no matter how tough things are, that a glorious eternity awaits after the resurrection.

 

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