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.”
Jesus wants the disciples to know that His death will not be the end. He tells them “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” (v. 27). This is very different than what they were expecting from the Messiah.
Many thought Jesus came to restore an earthly kingdom, and were shocked when He told them He would die for the world. They were stuck in their own thinking of “how it should be”, something that still troubles us today. Like Peter, we often try to impose our own will on situations rather than listening for God’s will.
When we try to control things, it doesn’t always end well. Jesus wasn’t afraid to give up control, to follow God’s will for Him even when the way seemed hard. We must be willing to let go and listen to what God calls us to as well, knowing His goodness is given to all His children.
Wise and wonderful God, our willfulness often leads us into the wrong things. Help us to be aware of Your call on our lives and follow where You lead us. Amen.