What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36
Astronaut Chris Ferguson made a difficult decision as the commander of the flight crew scheduled for a journey to the International Space Station. But that decision didn’t have anything to do with the mechanics of flight or the safety of his fellow astronauts. Instead, it pertained to what he considers his most important work: his family. Ferguson opted to keep his feet planted firmly on Earth so he could be present for his daughter’s wedding.
We all face difficult decisions at times—decisions that cause us to evaluate what matters most to us in life, because one option comes at the expense of the other. Jesus aimed to communicate this truth to His disciples and a crowd of onlookers regarding life’s most important decision—to follow Him. To be a disciple, He said, would require them to “deny themselves” in order to walk with Him (Mark 8:34). They might have been tempted to spare themselves the sacrifices required of following Christ and instead seek their own desires, but He reminded them it would come at the price of that which matters much more.
We’re often tempted to pursue things that seem of great value, yet they distract us from following Jesus. Let’s ask God to guide us in the choices we face each day so we’ll choose wisely and honor Him.
What choices have you made that drew you away from Jesus? What choices have drawn you nearer?
Jesus, I want to walk with You. Please help me to recognize and choose the paths that will foster a deeper connection to You.
Jesus’ words in Mark 8 come in the context of a situation in which He first praised Peter and then rebuked him. In Mark, we read how Peter recognized Jesus as “the Messiah” (8:29). Matthew’s gospel includes more details: Christ praised Peter for this confession (Matthew 16:17–19). Mark then tells us how Jesus explained that the Messiah would be killed (Mark 8:31). For this, “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him” (v. 32). Christ’s response was strong: “Get behind me, Satan! . . . You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (v. 33). This is the context in which Jesus makes His well-known statement: “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it” (v. 35). Jesus led by example, giving up His life for our benefit and His Father’s glory.