21From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
27“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” As with most of Jesus’ teaching, the hard part isn’t the understanding but the doing. Can we live in such a way that our own self-interest is not at the heart of what we do? That’s the hardest thing imaginable. It goes against everything engrained in us by our biology and culture and socioeconomic reality. But if we really mean the things we say—things about justice or equality or even just a life well-lived—this isn’t where we end, it’s where we start.
Holy God, let your cross rest on our shoulders, that we would rest only in you, in the grace of Jesus, your Son. Amen.