April 7, 2023

1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

Luke 23:49 (NKJV)

49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

John 19:25 (NKJV)

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Many followed Jesus to the cross, but at a distance. They were curious about what was happening but not willing to make a commitment. I like the word Luke uses, “acquaintances”. An acquaintance is defined as “a person that you have met but do not know well.” Luke points out that many followed Jesus to the Cross but they stood at a distance. How many today follow Jesus, but at a distance? They are the seekers looking from the outside. They are those who never commit their lives to God.

Where were Jesus’ Apostles? On Palm Sunday the Apostles went into Jerusalem with Jesus and we know on Thursday at the “Last Supper” they were with Him. But, as they moved closer to Golgotha fewer and fewer of the apostles are found with Him. Only Jesus’ mother and three other women along with the apostle John was at the Cross.

Commitment means going all the way. We do not just follow Jesus when life is good. When life gets difficult, we are to follow Jesus. Commitment to Jesus means even if we are the only ones left, we stand and stand firm in our commitment to Christ.

It amazes me how many wanted to be seen with Jesus in the excitement of His coming into Jerusalem but as the week wore on most of the people fell by the way. The external excitement left. The popularity of Jesus diminished. Jesus was demanding strict obedience to Him. Jesus was saying things like,

 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)

If Jesus bore His cross that is good in many people’s life. But, when He “demands” us to do so that is a different story. Many times our commitment is, “Yes, I want to go to Heaven but let me live my life the way I want to while I am alive.” Billy Joel wrote the song, “My Life.” The chorus repeated throughout the song is “I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life Go ahead with your own life leave me alone.”

Today the Christian faith is portrayed this way. “God, I will follow you as long as you leave me alone and let me live my life my way.”