“If anyone wishest to come after me … ” (Luke 9:23)

Don’t you find it amazing that Jesus Christ, the all-holy Son of God, would give us, mere mortals, a choice? He won’t force us to follow him; he simply calls us and hopes we will respond.

But what is this choice? Is it a choice to live a life of continual suf­fering, of “taking up our cross” day after day by passively accept­ing whatever trials come our way? Not at all! The real choice is to fix our eyes on Jesus or to try to live life on our own. It’s a choice between actively believing in Jesus or pas­sively accepting a kind of “default” life in which we just go along with the rest of the world.

But if we want to choose Jesus over the default, it would be really helpful to understand who this Jesus is. That’s why today’s Gospel read­ing reveals Jesus to us and the call he is giving us. In fact, throughout this Lenten season, the Scripture readings will show us more and more about Jesus. They will show us that he is not just a good man whose example we should follow; he is the holy Son of God who became man so we could become sons and daughters of God. They will show us that he is not a God who tests our faith by making us suffer; he is the Lamb of God who laid down his life so that we could be transformed into his very image and likeness!

Seeing Jesus for who he is will also show us the difference between walking with the Lord and going it alone. If we choose Jesus every day, our lives will change—and dramatically. We won’t just be living as “mere mortals” anymore. We will find ourselves filled with the grace and power of Almighty God! We will be able to love the unlov­able, to forgive the unforgivable, and to overcome the insurmount­able. It may be costly. There may be challenges and difficulties along the way, but we can be confident that as we choose Jesus, our lives will be marked by confidence and hope.

“Lord Jesus, I choose to follow you today. I accept your promise of life. Lord, thank you for inviting me to be with you.”

Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1:1-4,6