Jesus said, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him….” (Mark 10:33-34)
The other day someone told me that he would give up doughnuts for Jesus. At first, I didn’t think he was being serious, but I then realized he believed he was making a great sacrifice.
As I walked away from this interchange, I was reminded of how many times I’ve heard people say that they were giving up chocolate or ice cream or ten pounds or some innocent pleasure for a while for Jesus.
In today’s lesson, Jesus says He’s going to Jerusalem to give His life for us. How can we think that we honor Jesus by giving up His life by our giving up desserts? Jesus goes to the cross for us, and we go on a diet for Him. Doesn’t that sound silly?
So, let’s get real. I’m all for giving up things, but let’s give up things Jesus would have us give up. What might these things be? Anything that gets in the way of following Jesus, loving like Jesus, forgiving like Jesus, trusting like Jesus, and making disciples for Jesus. Jesus doesn’t want us to give up doughnuts, but He would like us to give up our fears, worries, resentments, and prejudices.
One of the reasons why we’re tempted to give up doughnuts for Jesus is that it’s much easier to give up sweets than to give up control, give up judging others, give up our secret addictions, give up our envies, lusts, and grudges.
I encourage us to stop fooling ourselves. Let’s stop thinking that sacrificing things like ice cream or chocolate honors Jesus sacrificing His life. If we honor the sacrifice Jesus made for us, then let’s sacrifice something that would matter to Jesus, which would be something that will actually change our lives, our relationships, and the world around us.
- What would Jesus like you to give up?
- Jesus made His sacrifice for us. What are the sacrifices He could be asking you to make for others?
- As you give up certain things for Jesus, are there any things He would like you to take on?