The words of Jesus are without compromise: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” My Protestant friends have asked me if I have ever confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I replied that I have but when they ask me when that happened, I tell them that it first happened at my baptism when I confessed not once, three times, and then it happens every week when I confess the Creed. I don’t know if this satisfies them, but you get the point.
Let us not be blithe or casual about confessing Christ. It can cost you. Today, for us, it costs most of us little to confess the Lord in the Creed. However, remember that this is the Sunday of the Saints and if you know anything about the Saints, you understand what it can cost to confess Him. There is an ideology in the world today that will take off your head for confessing Christ. We don’t worry about this too much. Our persecution is more subtle. According to the unfortunate senator Bernie Sanders, it’s fine to be a Christian just as long as you don’t promote it or practice it in public unless you have compromised it into nothingness.
Jesus expressed the cost in this way: “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me. He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. That is a high cost indeed.
So given such a cost, why would anyone follow or confess Jesus? The pagans wondered at the Saints. Often kings would offer them riches and honor if they would just worship an idol? How could you pass up such an honor? We might ask the Lord what Peter asked: Lord, we have given up absolutely everything to follow you. What can we expect in return? We might imagine that the Lord would have told them to expect nothing but tribulation or that they should just do it out of love. Yet, he said quite the opposite: “You who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”
A hundredfold!!! No banker, no stockbroker, no financial investor can come near that rate of return. The Saints knew this and so they smiled, laughed and even mocked the offers of wealth, position and power and life. Such an offer was a “low ball offer” compared to what Christ had for them in the time to come. So my friends, invest wisely. Don’t settle for low interest returns. No matter what sacrifice you think you must make, it is nothing compared to what the Lord Jesus has prepared for you.