Reading: Luke 12.8-12
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.’
Yesterday we were challenged to trust in the words of Jesus and the love of God as we follow the path of true discipleship. Today we are being encouraged to offer God our total loyalty.
Loyalty is a word that is not used that often in modern society, unless people are being accused of disloyalty. Loyalty demands a setting aside of self-interest for the good of some ‘higher cause’. Soldiers are expected to show loyalty to Queen, Country and Regiment; employees are expected to show loyalty to the companies they work for; friends expect loyalty from those with whom they share their most intimate secrets. These forms of loyalty might be considered as transactional: the person showing the loyalty ‘knows the rules’, they know how the ‘system works’ and they know what they are going to receive or achieve by remaining loyal. Jesus is asking for a different level of loyalty, one where there is no contract or job description, a level of loyalty that is based on faith.
Jesus knows that things are not always going to be easy for his followers. Jesus knows that it will often be easier to deny than to defend one’s Christian faith. Jesus knows that shouting Crucify with the mob will always be easier than standing alongside the one who promises eternal life. However, Jesus still wants our loyalty. Furthermore, Jesus promises that he will not leave you alone in your hour of need; he will be with all whose loyalty and faith remains steadfast.
To be a faithful and loyal disciple of Christ is to be one who rejects all that Jesus has criticized in this week’s readings. Instead, a faithful and loyal disciple of Christ will trust unconditionally in the promises made by Jesus, no matter how tough that may be. And when it does get tough, listen for that still small voice of God, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.
Listen, believe and get it said …