Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 16:25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
This is a difficult thing Jesus told His disciples. In order to understand the full picture of what Jesus said, we must go back a few verses to understand the context of these words. Starting in verse 21 we read, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You. But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Matthew 16:21-23. Jesus had just foretold His death and resurrection to His disciples. After He does this, Peter pulls Him aside and rebukes Him, stating that it will never happen. I cannot imagine anyone rebuking Christ, however, Jesus rebukes Peter, telling him to go away, for this is God’s plan for the Messiah to fulfill, not what man thinks it is.
After this, Jesus told the disciples their role in this if they wish to follow Him. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24. Jesus came here to die for the sake of mankind, giving each of us the opportunity to be saved and spend eternity with Him. He gave His life for us. What He is saying here is that He expects His followers to do the same if need be. If doing the work of God meant sacrificing their lives, would they, or would they do what was necessary to save their lives. If they were not, then they needed to stop following Him because they were not giving all of themselves to the work required of them.
He then builds upon the idea brought forth on the prior verse with our focus verse. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25. In essence he is saying those who are doing the work of the Lord and choose to stop because they will be killed if they do not have a choice. Either he can continue and trust that God will either save his life or allow him to give the ultimate sacrifice, or He can walk away from Christ and His work.
The question we need to ask ourselves is are we willing to give all for Christ? Is our life more important that Christ? As stated above, Jesus came for the express purpose of suffering and dying for our sake so we can be reconciled with the Father. Are we willing to do the same in order to spread the gospel throughout our areas of influence? This is the question Jesus is asking. And we must be ready to give an answer. Search your heart and pray that God will help you know what your true answer is. If it is yes, than you are willing to give everything for the sake of Christ. If it is no or I do not know, then pray and ask God to give you the strength and courage to say yes. He is much more important than anything else in our lives, including our lives. Give your all to Him and His work. You will find it to be more satisfying than any other.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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