After warning us about not telling anyone he is the Messiah, Jesus spoke to us about his death. He told us he was going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He said he was going to suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, priests, and teachers of religious laws. He would be killed on the third day, but he would be raised from the dead. One day it will be necessary for him to go to Jerusalem for a period of time for all of these things to happen.
I felt really sad. I just began to know Jesus and had the chance to spend more time with him. Why is he talking about his death as if it is going to be happening any time soon? He’s young, he’s only in his early thirties. I didn’t want to lose him. Surely, as the Son of God, he could put a stop to this?
Peter took Jesus aside and started reprimanding him. He was saying to Jesus what was on all of our hearts. Peter speaks up a lot for us. Often times he puts his foot in his mouth, but we are grateful for him sharing our feelings with Jesus.
Surprisingly, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Get away from me Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me.* You see things from a human viewpoint rather than God’s.”
Ouch! What a sharp statement! Peter, like Satan? Us, like Satan? You could see the sheepish look in Peter’s eyes. Poor Peter stepped back and sat down sulking.
Jesus sat down with us and said “If we wanted to be his follower, we have to let go of our selfish ways, take up our cross and follow him. If we hang on to our own life, we will lose it. But if we give up our lives for the Lord, we will be saved. What will we gain if we have the whole world but lose our souls? The Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s Glory and will judge everyone according to their deeds. If anyone is ashamed of him and his message in these sinful and adulterous days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them.”
All of us left everything behind to follow Jesus. Some left their boats, one left tax collecting, another was a doctor, and I left my family and my things. What else are we to give up? Jesus released me from seven demons, I am now a new person, but I am to take up my cross to follow him? Crosses were for criminals to carry, criminals such as murderers and robbers. Crosses were a sign of shame so everyone can see you were guilty of whatever wrong you were accused of. Is this the type of cross we are expected to bear?
How could any of us be ashamed of Jesus? He has done so much for us. We have seen him cure diseases, raise people from the dead, make the sea calm, and so much more. I am not ashamed of him. He is my Lord, my Rabbi, and my friend.
We all spoke with each other concerned about all we just heard. None of us really understood what Jesus was talking about but we didn’t want to ask. The rest of the day we were just feeling rather down. What were we to do? We try our best to follow Jesus no matter what, and yet, it seems it’s not enough. But… Maybe it is, and we are to teach others to live for him and give up everything like we had to follow Jesus. We have been heckled by many for following Jesus. If following Jesus means dying, then so be it. I want to do whatever Jesus calls me to do. I couldn’t do anything less.
*A dangerous trap is a snare, stumbling block and signifies that which causes error or sin.
For further study:
Matthew 16:21-26; 17:22-23; Mark 8:31-38; 9:30-32; Luke 9:22-25, 43-45