Our scripture this week is Matthew 16:21-28.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” 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. What 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? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Do you think the disciples ever had issues with what Jesus was trying to teach them? I’ll bet there were times He said something and their response was “Huh?”. They didn’t always get it right away either, needing more time and more explanation in order to understand the lesson.

That’s why we need to be gentle with ourselves when we don’t get the meaning of a scripture teaching. We need to read and reread, pray about it, discuss it with others whose faith and knowledge we trust. Scripture was never intended to be “one and done” but a lifelong guide and learning process.

Jesus wants us to know His love and intends that we learn of Him through scripture and the testimony of other believers. He also wants us to share our experience, helping others to know Him as we do. Don’t let a difficult lesson be a hindrance to your spiritual growth! Seek the help that has been provided for us in each other.

Loving Lord, we are often slow to understand what You would have us know, and even slower to apply it in our lives. Help us to seek the knowledge You send and share it in love with all the world. Amen.

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