When Jesus begins to tell the disciples that he is going to Jerusalem to suffer and die, Peter pulls him aside and rebukes him.
Because Peter wants to believe that salvation is possible without suffering.
Jesus knows that suffering is inevitable, and I think the reason he reacts so strongly to Peter–“Get behind me, Satan!”–is precisely because the main temptation Jesus faces is the temptation to seek the Crown without the Cross. Jesus doesn’t need Peter speaking the devil’s words into his ear–the way of the cross is difficult enough.
Things haven’t changed. Suffering is part of life, and the faithful will suffer. The Cross comes before the Crown. Good Friday comes before Easter Sunday.
But of course, if suffering is part of life–and I’m certain that it is–that means that you will suffer if you choose faithfulness, and you will suffer if you don’t. Both the faithful and the unfaithful suffer. The question is, will we suffer because we are walking the Way of Jesus, or because we are trying to seek our own way? Both ways are difficult, but only one way leads to life.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 2What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?Matthew 16:25-26
Which way are you walking today?
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