Jesus makes some radical and sweeping demands of those who would follow Him.
The reward for those who would submit to them though is unparalleled and incomparable to anything else – a complete and fulfilled life.
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
Mark 8:34 – 35
The life surrendered to Christ’s demands is the maximised life. To the extent one gives in to Christ and His radical demands is the extent to which one’s life is truly and permanently fulfilled, made whole and complete.
Christ promises wholeness of life to those who acquiesce to His demands. On the contrary, those who don’t stand to loose everything. In fact they have already lost everything and are in the minus. Christ is simply offering us the only means of escape from the minus we have worked ourselves into due to our own stubbornness of heart and resistance to submit to God’s demands which were never intended to be oppressive and life reducing but enjoyable and life giving.
The Lord could not have made it any clearer both to the crowds on the outside and His disciples on the inside.
In what, on the surface seems to be self-contradictory, Jesus offers a swap – surrender to Him and His demands and you will receive all that you have lost; turn Him and His demands down, you will assuredly loose everything.
It’s all a matter of faith – do we believe Christ to be the Anointed One of God, God Himself? If so, do we trust His every word and unconditionally surrender our lives to Him as per His demand?
Those who trust in Him and His words embrace life. Those who don’t but choose to reject Him and His words embrace the destiny of those who choose not to surrender their lives to Him and the gospel – certain death.
The life surrendered to Christ is the maximised life; that which is not is a lost one. End of.