March 23

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."  Matthew 16:24-25

Jesus is calling out His disciples.

Do you know what it means to be "called out"?

I think I first heard the phrase back in the days of the old Western movies when the hero would ride into town to get some supplies or for some other benign reason the local gunslinger would feel the need to challenge this stranger to a gunfight by "calling him out".

Of course, the hero would decline, so the villain would have to up the ante by calling him "yellow" or "coward" or would through a drink in his face. 

At some point it would become intolerable for the hero, usually John Wayne or Gary Cooper or Clint Eastwood, so he would reluctantly agree to being "called out" and promptly proceed to step out into the middle of main street and beat the foolish gunslinger to the draw and fill him with hot lead.

When I had watched dozens of these "horse operas" with a similar plot line I got to where I would yell at the TV screen to the foolish gunslinger, "Don't do it! Don't call him out!" But they never would listen. I guess that is how bad guys get to be bad guys - and how they end up as dead bad guys.

Obviously, that is not the same context in which Jesus is calling out His disciples, but He is saying, "Show me what you truly believe" or "Show me what you are made of". The challenge is to their authenticity as followers of the Son of God. Will they demonstrate with their lives the things they have claimed with their lips?

History records that with one exception, all of these disciples did answer the call to live out (and die for) their faith!

Actually, it is entirely for Jesus to call them out. They were to be the founders and foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ and the word for "church" is "ekklesia", which means "the called-out ones"! So, He was calling out the called-out ones!

If you are a Believer and a church member did you know you are called out? God has called you out of your sinful past, out of your self-centeredness, out of your willful disobedience, out of your foolish pride, and into His life of holiness. You are called out to live as His Word instructs you to live and to follow in the ways of Christ.

You are being called out!

Are you answering the call?

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