More Certainty in Uncertain Times
In the eighth chapter of The Gospel of Mark, Jesus talks about the challenge of living as a Christian in a society that is hostile to the faith. He makes three main points.
Firstly, anybody who thinks that their faith as a Christian will go unchallenged or untested, or that that will be no cost to living as a Christian is terribly naïve. … “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”(Mark 8:34, NKJV) We should expect that we will face opposition socially, financially, and from those in positions of power. In China, for example, Christians are being forced to renounce their faith or face possible starvation.1 In our own country, Christians face the loss of their job if they don’t publicly advocate for ideas contrary to the word of Christ. For most of us, it is simply a matter of making time for Christ and His word.
Secondly it is worth it even to lose everything if we hold on to Christ by faith. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:35–36, NKJV) Or, as Paul put it, “More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8, CSB) It should be obvious that eternal life is more important than anything we could value in this life.
But thirdly, Jesus, in the feeding of the 4000, shows his compassion toward those who follow Him. He said, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they’ve already stayed with me three days and have nothing to eat.” (Mark 8:2, CSB) The many who followed Him weren’t persecuted, but they had undergone privation and hunger to hear His word. We also should realize that our Lord knows what we go through as His followers, and He continues to watch over and provide for us, even when we bear a cross.
These are uncertain times, but we have certainty in Christ. The culture is as hostile to the Christian faith as we could imagine, and much is uncertain about the way Christians are treated in our day, but we can be certain that we are under the watchful care of our Savior. – – – Pastor Bryant