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. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[b] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
Will You Die For Jesus?
The Messiah wasn’t who Peter thought he would be. Peter thought Jesus would transcend the prophets like a king transcends a duke: He would be an authority, but ultimately a bigger version of the same. Jesus would be a king of some earthly realm who ruled with supernatural power and invincible armies. Peter wanted to be there for that. When the kingdom of God came with power, he wanted to be commanding the armies, waving his sword, slashing off ears. Jesus tries to cut that idea down. Jesus shows power through sacrifice. Jesus will embrace death and embrace power in doing so. Peter could not allow such a fool-brained plan from his rabbi and lets Jesus know.
We see then, Peter confesses Jesus as the Messiah but has no idea what the Son of Man is really about. He loves the man but rejects the plan. He rejects a way of self-deprecation and sacrifice for others.
We live in a world that strives for gain. We accumulate toys before we can speak. We accumulate land, transportation, notoriety. But Jesus calls us to live for him. He is not a means to a white-picket-fence life of conformity and high-tea. He demands complete sacrifice. There is no Jesus-and option: We can not have Jesus and our career, our family, or our church all sharing priority like many Americans try and redefine superlatives by having several best friends. There are never several bests in God’s kingdom. He is best and he does not share his glory. Why have we so trivialised God? Do we want to see power? Then we must embrace the life Jesus has prepared for us and discard the life we have designed for ourselves.
Jesus, may I die in the ways you ask. I am fearful but you are faithful.
- What role does Jesus say the Messiah must play?
- Why do you think Peter objects?
- Why is Jesus so harsh on Peter?
- How would you have reacted in this scenario?
- Will you die for Jesus?