Summary of passage: God calls Abram to leave his country (Mesopotamia) for the land He will show Him (Canaan). God promises Abram to make him into a great nation and He will bless him. He will bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him. ALL people on earth will be blessed through Abram.
3) Country, people, relatives (father’s household) so family. Basically, everything
4a) Matthew 4:18-22: Peter and Andrew left their livelihood (fishing) and James and John left their boat and father (livelihood and family) to follow Jesus when he called. Called to stop whatever you are doing.
Matthew 8:22: Jesus told one disciple to “let the dead bury their dead”, meaning let the other family members who were not alive in Christ bury his father (verse 21) who just died.
I take this not as callousness of attending a funeral but that Jesus had to attend to the living. He had more important work for the disciple to do than funeral arrangements that someone else in the family could handle.
Mark 8:34-36: ”He must deny himself, take up the cross, and follow me….loses his life for me.” You no longer live for yourself but for Jesus. Deny your desires and embrace His. Surrender yourself to Christ.
The meaning of cross bearing today is a bit different from Jesus’s time. If you bore a cross in 1st century AD, you were sentenced to death. You were dying and there was no going back. Today it has softened to meaning bearing something irritating like “grin and bear it.”
Jesus meant there is no going back. Surrender your life COMPLETELY to him. Not just put up with Jesus.
Luke 14:26-33: Must “give up everything he has” in order to follow Jesus. Jesus must come before family members. Allow nothing to come between us and God. Even good things such as family. We must abandon all striving after our own interests–die to self. Be like Jesus. Not like our sinful self.
1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 2:15-17: God chose us so we must declare the praises of him to others. We must do the will of God in our lives and forsake everything in and of the world which will inevitably pass away.
Conclusions: This lesson reminds me that everything has a cost in this world; nothing is free. The same with following Jesus. Once accepted, we are called to more. Sinful living is no longer acceptable. Jesus demands a lot from us: total commitment to him! For he gave himself for us.
God’s will must be first above all else and anyone else. It’s what He desires for your life not what you desire. If it’s not for Him, it’s meaningless. We must yield completely to Him and surrender all self-interest in order to follow Him. We must think of ourselves as dead, yield our life completely, and place it in God’s hands.
Only then can we live.