34 He summoned the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to follow after me, let them reject themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For the one who wants to save his soul will lose it, and the one who loses his soul for my sake, and for the sake of the excellent message, will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 Indeed, what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 The man who is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
losing our souls for Jesus
In the teachings of crazy, mixed up popular Christianity, we are taught that it is impossible to do what Jesus tells us to do here: to put our souls at risk. That is because we have swallowed Satan’s lie, and believe that our souls cannot die. But soul mortality was a given for Jesus. But that truth does not fit with popular theology, so the translators who believe that theology have to use some other word to translate the word “soul” here. Usually the use the word “life” which – to be fair – does convey Jesus’ meaning. He was talking about being serious enough about our faith in Jesus to put our lives (souls) on the line.
Meanwhile, there is an entire generation of unbelievers who are familiar enough with the Christmas and Easter stories, they might even consider themselves Christian. But they would never join a church, and accept any Christ denying “fact” their society throws at them. They do exactly what Jesus warns against here. They deny Christ instead of losing their souls for him.
Reaching those people just might mean sacrificing our lives. Do we believe in Jesus enough to lose our souls for him?
LORD, give us the faith to stand for Christ, even when our world turns against him.