“The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
Jesus tells His disciples that He must suffer many things; that He must be rejected; that He must be killed. What could they have been talking about that caused His thoughts to lead in this direction?
He had just asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”, and then asked them directly, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
He is the Messiah, the Christ. He is God. There has never been and there never will be any human being like Him. Peter acknowledged that fact. Yet what does Jesus say? The highest of the high will stoop to become the lowest of the low. The King of the universe will become the doormat of those He created and into whom He breathed life.
The disciples had followed Him; they wanted to continue following Him; and He is telling them where that path will lead. He is offering “full disclosure”; here are the terms of the contract should they choose to follow: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Jesus is asking for men and women, young and old who will give up their lives, who will lay down their own goals and take up the cross of Christ and pursue His goals. It’s not easy. It can be a frightening choice, and once chosen it becomes an even more difficult road. Some cannot make the choice until they’ve lost all that’s important in their world … or run until they’ve no place left to go … or wandered through the wilderness until they fall exhausted at Jesus’ feet.
Perhaps that is you. Are you broken? Is there nothing left to lose? Have you been disappointed, injured, abused? Are you filled with regret for what you have done, or what you have failed to do?
My prayers are with you. My heart goes out to you. But more importantly, God's heart goes out to you:
Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:1-2
He is looking upon you. You have nothing to commend you, nothing that makes you special above anyone else. But God has brought you to this place; He has broken your pride until your heart is contrite; and He has given you tenderness for His Word.
He has broken you like a pot with a fatal flaw, and now He is remaking you. Pentecost has come to you – you! – and He desires to baptize you with His Holy Spirit: not for your benefit, but for the benefit of every person you will ever meet. Let Him do it!
Word of God: speak! Non nobis Domine+
by: Father Dana Jackson