This lent I’m reading these devotionals sent Monday through Friday by the community at Goshen College. Each day a student, professor or staff member offers a personal reflection guaranteed to make you ponder.
31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” 34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Please read the Scripture again before you start reading this devotion. Did you read it? OK, I trust you. Notice the depth of Jesus’ statement, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” The Message translates it this way; “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” (emphasis mine).
Two verses earlier, Peter approached Jesus. This was just after he found out that Jesus must be killed. This did not sound appealing to Peter. Peter loved Jesus. Peter knew that Jesus loved him. Peter was comfortable with this love relationship. Peter felt threatened with the thought of suffering. Jesus responded with comparing Peter to Satan. Whoa! I don’t know about you but being compared with Satan is not what I want from my loving Savior.
Often times we have our own plans of how our walk with Christ should work out. We build safe lives, consuming Christ’s love but not allowing it to flow out of us. We do not lose our lives for Christ’s sake or the Good News.
Often times Christians are like Peter. We love telling Jesus that he is wrong and that our way is best. We become comfortable with the love that we have experienced but are uncomfortable with the conflict that comes because of the controversy of the Gospel. But Jesus calls us to lose ourselves for this controversy.
By Nate Manning, a senior interdisciplinary major from Middleville, Mich.