Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “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, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Food For Thought:
One of the most direct and difficult commands given to us by Jesus is found in this passage of Scripture. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” What do you think it means to take up one’s cross? What are some of the largest sacrifices that you have had to make for your faith? What do you need to sacrifice so that you can become closer to God?
Raise us up, O Lord, for it is you alone who restores life and health to the suffering and to those who wander from the truth. By your grace, may we offer powerful and effective prayers for one another and the world, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.