Luke 9:18-27 Resonance with Suffering

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Resonance with Suffering

Jesus’ ministry was marked by prayer and suffering.  Often, these days, people’s prayers are shallow requests for prosperity.  We don’t think we have what we need, we doubt the Lord’s provision, and so we pray for more things so that our lives will move more fully into ease and comfort.  Jesus’ prayer leads him to teach.  It leads him to ask key questions that draw from his disciples a confession of faith.  They do believe that he is the Christ or Messiah.  This means that he is the chosen one of God.  He has been sent to liberate the people, bring healing to the nations, and to bring blessing.  However, it is not in the obvious ways that the disciples would conceive.  He is not bringing material wealth, he is not bringing political freedom, he is bringing God’s peace.  In establishing a harmony with God, God comes to earth through the lives of each follower.

Each person that follows God will live in tension between the redeemed life within them and the corrupted and twisted world around them.  As a redeemer steps into an unredeemed environment, they will often suffer.  Many Christians do not suffer because they do not live in tension with the corrupted world around them, they stay separate or they assimilate.  Jesus is the pure and holy one of God and he redeems the whole world.  In his body he will take the tension of the dissonance between Creation and God.  It will strain his body until it is broken.  However, his death means that we can resonate with God.  The dictionary defines resonance as ‘a sound or vibration produced in one object that is caused by the sound or vibration produced in another’ (Webster).  The whole of Creation was made to resonate with the sound of God, however, it has started singing its own dark melody.  The tortured tune that results from the confluence of holiness and unrighteousness is jarring and frightening.  It is full of horror.  However, if you follow the thread of the pure melody in the tortured body of the martyrs, if you follow the progression of redemption through the ages, you will see the song of the cross stand out more beautifully because of its contrast with the clamor of the world.

Prayer

May I use my freedom to choose what you want so that your message may be amplified in me through resonance.

Questions

  1. What is Jesus doing before he asks his question?
  2. What does Messiah mean to Peter?
  3. How does Jesus define the way of the Messiah and his followers?
  4. How does your life resonate with God?
  5. How is there discord in your life because of your faith?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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