March 26

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Matthew 16:21-28

The disciples just didn’t get Jesus. The image of a military hero messiah was just too strong. So when Jesus talked about going to Jerusalem to die, Peter knew he had to take decisive action. He had to stop Jesus from surrendering. What kind of hero surrenders even before the fight has begun? Jesus, this must never happen to you! Be courageous!

Jesus, however, doesn’t have patience with this way of thinking. He has tried to get it through to his followers that the ways of God do not conform to our human ways. He has tried to get them to understand not just THAT the last shall be first and the least shall be the greatest, but he has tried to show them HOW this plays out by his living example as a non-violent justice seeker.

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block! You are not seeing the world as God sees, but only from your very human perspective!” Satan … the prosecutor … the one who goes out of the way to accuse … to trap … to cause us to stumble. This is the manifestation of all the evil we experience even in our own world today. The problem is that evil usually comes dressed as a friend.

Jesus lays out the hard truth about this journey we are taking. It isn’t always easy. It is a journey filled with both joy and sadness. Comfort and discomfort. Life and death. Ultimately, when we speak the truth to evil dressed as a friend (sometimes even a very religious friend), we will be shot down … maybe even crucified … for speaking the truth. Jesus makes it clear that the cross isn’t only his … it is ours, as well.

So as we journey, let’s not give into the Satan’s allure. When we carry our cross, we will experience what death is like … but we do so with the hope that a resurrection awaits!

God of Hope, we pray for the strength to bear our own cross. Walk with us as we face death, and give us the hope of resurrection. Amen.

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