Shamed Out of Hope
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words . . .” Mark 8:38
Jesus is Lord. Do these words have much to do with you today? Our confession of His worthiness does mean something. In the days of the first Christians, when the gospel was new to the world, being ashamed of Christ was a real temptation. So Jesus’ warning is strong and solemn.
No doubt confessing Christ, for the first disciples, carried great weight. When the message of Jesus was given, it meant that one was ready to leave everything in this world and to die for Christ. When all the world was against Christ and His gospel, it was a matter of life and death not to be ashamed of Him.
When men were brought before kings and rulers, they were told that, unless they denied Christ, they would be thrown to wild beasts, buried alive, have their bodies placed on skewers and be burned alive, or sent to prison, or be forced to labor like convicts all the rest of their days. There was good reason to warn disciples that, to be ashamed of Christ, was to save their life in this world, only to lose their soul in the next.
Or, when believers were surrounded by others who belittled, laughed, mocked, reviled, and trampled on their faith and obedience to Christ; when being a Christian was thought to be stupid and obtuse; only then did Jesus’ words of warning serve to keep them from bringing shame out of their hope.
Jesus does not call us to a mere profession. He did not call us to obey His words only so far. He called us to own His name and words by doing as He did, by following in all of His ways. We must feel the pressure from others, and live unashamedly well. Even if it’s not common, not acceptable among others. If faith is not fashionable, we believe anyway. If others laugh, make unkind remarks, do not shrink back because it’s unpleasant to be sneered at or talked about, don’t be ashamed.
It was a deeply held belief in Jesus that inspired personal abandon, created the desire to sacrifice, Jesus and His way of the cross has created generations who are ready and willing to devote their lives to the cause of Christ. It has given us missionaries, martyrs and reformers.
Jesus’ ways and words have given others a new sense of purpose and faith. The Lord’s disciples have worked tirelessly, knowing they would not see the fruits of their labors. The Lord’s men and women have been fueled with a holy wildness and they, by their example, have been lifting others up out of the darkness to higher and greater things.
Have you lived with the same reckless abandon as the first century believers? Have you ever exhausted your soul from living unashamedly for Jesus?