And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
— MARK 8:34 —
Danijel Kuhar: Theological Biblical Academy | Croatia
Even those closest to Jesus may not understand what it means to truly follow Him. Jesus’ radical call to discipleship demands the high price of total commitment, which all of His followers must be willing to pay. It is not enough to merely confess Christ with our words (Mark 8:27–29); we must also follow Him with our lives (Mark 8:34-38). To follow Jesus Christ will often cost the disciple everything. He must be willing to give up everything and must also submit every aspect of his life to Christ. Are you following Jesus with just your lips, or also your whole life? Jesus expects His disciples to be ready to lose their lives for Him and for the gospel, if necessary. The readiness to do this demonstrates the genuineness of the disciple’s commitment (Mark 8:35–38). Many evangelical churches in the former Yugoslavia have forgotten Jesus’ radical call to discipleship. Instead, the gospel message has been reduced to: “God is love and has a wonderful plan for you,” or, “Jesus can help you solve your problems,” or, “Accept Jesus in your life.” Sadly, as a consequence, many in the church do not even understand the gospel message and what it means to follow Jesus. Nevertheless, God graciously continues to raise up for Himself true disciples who are willing to serve Christ and pay the high cost of total commitment that Jesus demands. Theological Biblical Academy is part of this body of true disciples that God has raised up. Many within can testify of their experience and how often Christ’s call to discipleship brings division in families. We all need to be ready to pay that high cost and to say with Paul: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Have you, reader, counted this cost? Are you following Jesus with just your lips, or also your whole life? Pray for grace to count the cost and follow Christ.