From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Food for Thought:
The most challenging line in almost all of Scripture is found in this passage. Jesus says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” What do you think that Jesus is calling us to do in this passage? It is a strong command about being faithful to God. To throw off the old ways of living and to take on a new way of living in which peace, patience, kindness, love, compassion, generosity, and faithfulness are the guiding themes of our lives. How have you taken up your cross for God?
Faithful God, you are the hope of all the oppressed and the source of freedom for those held captive. Make us strong to witness to your liberating power in generosity of life and in humility of spirit that all the world may delight in your goodness. Guide us as we take up our cross and follow you, and give us the courage to do so. In your holy and precious name we pray, Amen.