When you get to your last day on earth will you realise it? Most people don’t. This earth is the only place you have ever been, death is not something you have done before and while you know in your head its coming, your heart finds it hard to believe. One reason for this is that God has planted eternity in our hearts so we are by nature and instinct, eternal beings who just know there is more to come.
The only people who can be reasonably sure that they are living their last day are those facing execution. In Jesus’ day the method of execution for non-Romans was crucifixion both painful and public.
Jesus likened the Christian walk to carrying one’s cross daily. It too is painful and public.
Carrying one’s cross is not overly burdensome or unreasonable but it does go against our grain because its all about putting to death our claims, our rights and every other pretension we have in our attitude towards God.
Jesus indicates that if you want the life he offers, you have to die the death he died. You cannot share in his resurrection unless you also share in his death and that means dying to your selfishness and rising to follow him.
The thing most people find hard to take is that you can’t carry your cross in secret. Jesus won’t have anything to do with people who want a private execution. The pain of carrying the cross is mostly that of letting go your concern for other’s opinions of you. You have to admit, firstly to yourself, that you need Jesus for salvation and then you have to admit it to others.
Jesus is no more interested in private friends who don’t want to be seen in public with him than you would be. That’s why he warns that he will be ashamed of you when he returns in glory if you are ashamed of him now.
The greatest risk is to think Jesus is joking.
The Son of God, has promised salvation to those who truly believe in him. I can have certainty of salvation because I can be certain that he does not lie or break promises. Therefore I can also say with certainty that those who don’t have faith will not be saved because that he has also promised. True faith is never simply an academic assent to a set of beliefs nor is the Gospel a password to get you into heaven it’s a way of life that begins here and continues in Heaven. It’s a belief in truth that brings about a total transformation of character.
Those who want to hold on to their life here will loose everything and this loss will be so devastating that even owning the whole world will in no way compensate for that loss. How stupid is it to loose everything when the only thing you held on to was your pride.
Contrary to what the health workers tell you, a good death is not one where you slip away painlessly, but one where you leave this world to be welcomed with open arms by Jesus knowing that you have done with death forever.
Who knows, you might live through this day, then again? In any case, knowing that some day in the future will be your last day, would it not seem wise and ultimately profitable to get serious with the one who offers eternal life now? Just in case? You wouldn’t dream of driving a new car out of the showroom without insurance because you know that this is a hazardous world. Its no less hazardous to human life which has got to be much more valuable than a new car.