After Jesus spoke to his disciples about storming the gates of hell, he also gave them a word of caution: “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory” (Luke 9:26).
Jesus knew that His followers would face ridicule and anger as they tried to confront evil. And His words came as a sharp challenge: no matter how fierce the resistance, His followers should never shrink back and hide their faith in God. His followers weren’t made to “Circle the Wagons.”
Jesus taught with passionate concern, even when bystanders may have thought him a total fool. Jesus continued his short lesson, ‘calling’ (In Greek, literally meaning shouting at the top of his voice; better translated, “Yelling”) to the crowd and his disciples right there in Caesarea Philippi, he challenged everyone within hearing: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very soul?” (v. 25). This begs a few questions:
- What crowd did He call to himself?
- Could it have been the Pan worshippers? Any crowd from this region would NOT have been religiously Jewish.
- Was the last statement aimed at his disciples, who might have been embarrassed at the spectacle Jesus was creating?
In a city filled with false idols, Jesus asked his followers to commit to the one true God. While false gods promised prosperity and happiness, they would ultimately fail to deliver. Jesus didn’t promise an easy life, but He delivered on the promise of salvation—the only kind of prosperity that really matters.
Today, Christians must heed the words of our Rabbi King, especially when we are tempted to hide our faith because of embarrassment or fear. Our world is filled with those who have “gained the world” but lost their souls. If we hide our faith, they may never find the salvation they need.