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Matthew 16:21-27

The Word of God

From 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. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you." But 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." Then Jesus told his disciples, "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. For 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? 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."

Matthew 16:21-27
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus was so single-minded, he knew very well what putting love as the greatest commandment and being close to the poor would mean. Yet he did not shy away from his mission; on the contrary he scolded his closest friend very fiercely, even calling him Satan. He then calls us to follow him on his way to the cross by carrying our own cross every day. I ask Jesus to defend me from the traps of Satan and to give me an ever greater desire to be his true disciple.
    • Our culture seems to claim that those who want to save their lives can do so, mostly by possessing more things and living in ever greater comfort. Jesus pulls no punches, he challenges us to be ready to lose our lives to be able to save them. I ask myself what this means in my life, here and now, whether I feel called to let go of something precious to me to be able to live more fully.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • If we are to be followers of Jesus, we need to let him lead, accepting that he will not lead us away from suffering, pain or difficulty. Instead of seeking our own benefit and gain, we allow every experience – even in moments of distress – to draw us into closer relationship with Jesus who invites us to lay our burdens on his shoulders. I pray that I may let go and grow in trust of God’s love for me.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Peter has just been congratulated as the rock on which Jesus will build his church. He is comfortable in a theology of grace and glory. Suddenly that rock looks sandy and unsafe. Jesus calls him abruptly out of his comfort zone into the real world where suffering must be faced (/cross/ is used here as a proverbial term for suffering and agony, not referring specifically to Jesus' crucifixion).
    • Lord, I love to see you in beautiful churches, with music and warm light. Let me recognise you too in pain, loss and insecurity.
    • One of the ideas in the gospel is that we take up the cross of doing what is right and being willing to bear it. Like parents who try to explain, cajole, encourage and define what is right for their children, even when they are thought foolish. Jesus bore a cross to the end of his convictions and love.
    • Taking the cross is also accepting and living with pain, suffering of any sort, and the griefs of life we can do nothing about. Crosses may be inflicted on us by others. We know of people who have accepted a heavy burden in life and who ploughed tough furrows, through no fault of their own. They have been helped often by the example of the one who carried the cross to the end. Help often came to them also from family, friends and neighbours.
    • On the way to Calvary, Jesus was helped by one man, remembered forever, Simon from Africa. Help can come from expected or unexpected quarters, but help there must be if we are to bear our crosses in life. In prayer we might ask how we help those near us carry the burdens of their lives.