And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Comment: I hear people saying that becoming a Christian is easy – just repent and believe. Is repenting easy? Is believing what you read and hear about but can’t see easy? Here Jesus paints a tough picture – tough for Himself! suffering, rejection and death. And that was for a person only about 33 years old. Peter either didn’t hear or more likely didn’t understand the other thing Jesus said about His own future – resurrection. Peter who had been praised for his acknowledgement of Jesus the Messiah is now charged as being the ventriloquist, or at least a mouth piece, of Satan.
Then follows another tough passage – this for the person who chooses to follow Jesus. The follower is called to self-denial, bearing a cross, losing control over their own lives. Jesus adds a comparison – what not following Him would cost, ‘which is of more value worldly success or eternal life’; and He adds ‘if you go on denying Me, I will deny you on the day of final judgement’.
(A maybe) Prayer: Lord You have heard my choice, please help me to be true to it day by day.