31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
When Jesus proclaimed that “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”, this must have confused Peter and the disciples greatly. Peter had just got done proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah with full confirmation from Jesus himself that he was, and yet, here Jesus starts talking about the cross. The cross that you and I think about now, in hindsight of what Christ had done, is a symbol of victory. But the cross to anyone living in the reign of the Roman empire was thought of as the absolute most excruciating and demeaning death possible. Why would Jesus use such strong imagery to compare a life of following him?
Looking at this passage, I think we take too lightly the troubles that will come our way should we choose to follow Jesus. Jesus in this passage does not promise his disciples an easy way. And so it troubles me how we’ve watered down the Christian life to just feel good stories and miraculous breakthroughs, because in my 38 years here on this earth, I have found that trouble, hurt and pain have a funny way of finding you no matter what. I have found that for there to be breakthroughs, there has to be trouble and heartache. For there to be a miracle you need a hard place. Jesus does promise resurrection and victory, but to experience that, we need to put something in the grave and often times, those things and situations will hurt. Jesus does not promise no pain, he promises victory (Josh Xiong- Worship Director).
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Ask God to deliver you from your troubles to protect you from the evil one and deliver you from temptation.