Scripture: Luke 9:18-27
Key verses: (20, 23-25) 20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.” … 23 Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. 25 What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
Reflection: Could Jesus really be the Messiah of God? Peter was bold enough to wonder aloud. The other disciples kept silent, no doubt eager to see how Jesus would react to Peter’s claim. There were many claimants to this title, all promising the world to those who would follow them. Tradition said the Messiah would make the people and the nation exalted once again. So, if Jesus was the Messiah, the disciples’ fortune was guaranteed.
But, as in so many other areas of life and religion, Jesus did not conform to tradition, but redefined it! If Jesus was the Messiah, they were told, they could expect to bear their cross daily, that is, face the threat of death daily. Not an exalted way to live, is it? Rather that becoming more important, they would deny themselves. Those who pursued a safe and secure life above all things would not find it. Those who were willing to follow Jesus even to the point of losing their life for the sake of God’s kingdom would paradoxically, find their life saved and fulfilled.
The point of following Jesus is not to gain all the world offers and, in so doing, losing what God has called us to be. The point of following Jesus is to lose our selves in the following so that we will find and live life in the fullness of God’s embrace.
Before you call Jesus Messiah, make sure you are not looking for a Messiah that conforms to your hopes and dreams. Make sure you understand what it means to call Jesus the Messiah of God and what that will require of you.
Prayer: Save us from bold pronouncements that do not count the cost. Give us courage to follow the way you have made known. Help us to find our live by following you. In the name of Jesus, the Messiah of God, we pray. Amen.
Author: Von Clemans
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].