28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.
29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.
Luke 14:33 (The Message)
33"Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple.
What are you willing to do to be a Christian? To what lengths are you willing to go to follow Jesus? We all have read the stories of countless believers that gave up everything, even their very lives for the cause of Christ. All but 1 of the disciples were martyred, Paul was beheaded, thousands upon thousands of Christians were hunted down and killed in the first several hundred years of the church.
In the last century, the Ottoman Turks exterminated 1.5 million Armenian Christians, and countless millions of professing Christians died at the hands of the Japanese and Germans in World War II. The Communist purges in Russia, China and North Korea, crushed many Christians that stood against them. We don't need to look to far today to see the persecution of Chritians in many countries around the world, especially those dominated by Sharia law. As you are reading, there are thousands of Christians being slaughtered, brutalized, enslaved, and bitterly persecuted for their faith in Jesus in Iraq and Syria. The Islamic extremists of ISIS are exterminating the Christian church in every area that they can. Their have been more followers of Jesus killed in the last 100 years than have died in the last 2000 years. Would we be able to stand up to the same persecution?
Jesus has called us, and he has set a very high standard for us to achieve as believers. His words above are very clear, that we need to be prepared to give up everything to follow him. At the same time he promises great reward, eternal life with God. Are we willing to stand up to this challenge from our Savior? A time may come in our future when we may be confronted with giving up everything. Will you be ready?
Photo by Khalil Hamra, AP