Today's Lectionary Text
Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 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.” Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 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? 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. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
Jesus asked his disciples who people thought he was. They replied, “John the Baptist, Elijah; and still others said that one of the prophets from long ago has come back to life.” But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “God's Messiah.”
This is where Jesus strictly warns them to tell no one. He explains to them again what he means about what will happen to him. Put in today's language, it would go something like this. “We could not become like God, so God became like us. God showed us how to heal instead of kill, how to mend instead of destroy, how to love instead of hate, how to live instead of long for more. When we nailed God to a tree, God forgave. And when we buried God in the ground, God got up.” (Rachel Held Evans)
Now, life will be about serving the living Jesus. Suffering as Jesus did. Crucified like him; no longer living my own life, but his through me. Doing what he did. It is no longer about personal success. It is not about climbing the ladder to serve the biggest church anymore. It is no longer about hanging out with the right people. It is about finding eternal salvation through self-sacrifice and surrender to God's will. It is about becoming part of the kingdom of God with eyes wide open. It is about letting the Holy Spirit speak to us as God and Jesus make known to the Holy Spirit what we shall say, do, and be.
Sometimes, this passage of scripture reminds me why my personal call to ministry as a halftime retired elder is still alive six years after retirement from full time ministry. John Wesley said it best for me. ”I will praise the Maker while I have breath!”
-Rev. Guy E. Rendoff
Geneseo United Methodist Church
Prayer for Reflection
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustaining God, instill in us the desire to get up each day and follow the living Jesus who is always waiting for us around the next corner of an uncertain and chaotic world. In the name of Jesus, I pray. May it be so. Amen.
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