Pastor Shawn Robinson
Clayton Community Church
Matthew 16:22 But Peter took him aside and corrected him. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
Jesus is nearing the end of his life, he has chosen the way of the cross. He makes it clear, “this is the way it has to be”, but Peter doesn’t quite see it that way. “Come on Jesus, you are in control, all this suffering talk is bad press. This won’t ever happen to you!”
Peter just doesn’t get it! He only wants to see a glorified Messiah, but he hasn’t grasped that the gospel message is incomplete without the cross. For Jesus there can be no savior without suffering, no glory without sacrifice.
When I was younger, I’m not sure I ever really understood the cross. I was the one who wanted to hurry up and get to Easter. I would proudly proclaim to my catholic friends that I would never wear a crucifix because my Lord wasn’t dead. I guess I never stopped to realize that they weren’t worshipping the crucifixion as much as they were acknowledging that it had to happen.
I was a lot like Peter. I only wanted to see the upside of Christianity, no mess or sacrifice, just a nice neat “resurrection package”. Jesus knew differently. That’s why shortly after Peter’s brash statement Jesus made the following challenge— “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.” (Message Translation)
The cross is Jesus’ gift to us. Satan will want us to ignore this important act and he will use the Peter’s of this world to convince us of its sheer nonsense, but Jesus’ way is wrapped up in the love of sacrifice and he calls us to the same life.
Now do you get it?
Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of the cross. May we recognize and accept the invitation and challenge of discipleship. Amen.