Jesus said to his apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple— amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
In today’s day and age, it is estimated that roughly 200,000 Christians are Martyred each year for their Faith in Christ. And, many of those are given the opportunity to rescind their Faith in Christ in order to avoid execution. These Saints were Martyred just like 10 of the original 12 Apostles were. They were Martyred just like the 2M+ Christians that are estimated to have been Martyred by 313 A.D.. They were Martyred just like the roughly 60M Christians were in Russia under Stalin, Lenin, etc. through the end of the Cold War. So, what’s Jesus Asking of each of us? Is He really asking us to die body and Soul to Him? He is. Whether or not we always Believe that Jesus died for each and every one of us, He did. He died for you, me, and the woman running the local grocery store. You see, by dying for us, Jesus took all of the worries of this world away from us – whether we’re talking about pandemics, international/race relations, rioting, natural disasters, political unrest, wars, etc. Jesus told His Disciples, “In this world you will have trouble.” But He didn’t end it there; no, He finished His Message in John 16:33 with, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” While it is easy to think about this, it isn’t easy to live like this. Faith only makes Eternity and all things possible; it doesn’t make them easy. So, we must take heart and surrender to the King of kings and Lord of lords who’s “yoke is easy and burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). It’s only by putting all of our Faith (and Trust) in Christ that we can and will “do all things in Christ Who gives [us] strength” (Philippians 4:13).