Lord, we are willing to pick up the cross.
Read LUKE 9:18–27
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
Jesus Predicts His Death
21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“I will not sacriﬁce to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24).
Today’s reading takes us to one of the turning points in this Gospel. Jesus’ disciples have been with him for some time but have yet to make the crucial breakthrough as to just who it is they’re walking with. Jesus now precipitates this by asking directly who they believe him to be (arguably the most important question that could ever be asked). The self-revelation of God in Christ coincides with
the disciples’ ability to understand—and Peter gets it: Jesus is God’s Messiah. This is the fulﬁllment of whatever has gone before. This is the confession that every believer needs to make to be counted among the band of disciples. It truly is a revelation (Matt. 16:17).
Yet strangely, given the requirement to confess Christ (26) and proclaim him (Luke 24:45–49), Jesus’ ﬁrst commands are to do the opposite (21). Why keep mum about it? This is a temporary prohibition. Before Christ can be proclaimed as Messiah, expectations have to be managed. Jesus is not exactly the Messiah some were wanting: a warrior who would lead the nation in battle. He would not shed blood, but would have his own bloodshed, suffering rejection and being put to death before being vindicated (22). Such is the price he would pay for doing God’s will; such is the pattern of life for his followers. To follow Jesus is costly. There are easier options, but none of them leads to being attached to him throughout his glorious future, enjoying the kingdom of God (26,27).
The Indian evangelist Sadhu Sundar Singh once passed through an icy, perilous pass into Tibet (see Phyllis Thompson, Sadhu Sundar Singh, 90,94). Traveling with a Tibetan stranger, he noticed a badly wounded man on a ledge below. The Tibetan refused to help, fearing for his own life. Yet Singh carried the man to safety. Later, they came across the body of the Tibetan; Singh recalled verses 24 and 25: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
What are you willing to sacriﬁce for the Lord?
Lord, we acknowledge You as the only Messiah God intends to give for both Jew and Gentile.