Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cross Carrying Matthew 16:21-28 Romans 12:9-21

Jesus has a way of reversing, what to a human, seems logical and natural. Humans might think of power as the answer to the world's problems -- but Jesus sees the cross. When Peter heard Jesus speak of his suffering and death he was stunned. He replied back, never Lord Matthew 16:22. It broke Peter's heart to think Jesus would die (as David Lose wisely observes). Jesus wasn't fooling around--this was the mind of God at work Matthew 16:23. An instrument of humiliation and torture that lead to death was God's very answer to evil and death. Pushing the point Jesus invited his friends to pick up their crosses and follow him Matthew 16:24.

Jesus laid out his plan: lose your life in order to find it Matthew 16:25. His followers must have been confused. Their teacher and friend was reordering everything they knew. Truth is Jesus had a plan more beautiful than we can imagine. It's a plan to find who you really are not in terms of this world -- but in the next Matthew 16:26.

Jesus earliest followers, like Paul, picked up the thought. When Paul invited the early church to genuine love he was casting a vision of living like and for Jesus in this world Romans 12:9. Jesus followers can live today like heaven is for real. We can act towards those who would be our enemies with love and compassion. We can live today knowing that evil can be overcome by good Romans 12:21. God's plan is a total reversal. He invites believers to live in the light of God's kingdom. Even as believers deal with those do harm today there is still freedom to live close to Jesus and in the light of his love. Believers are blessed to know the love of God that changes them and that allows them to regard all people--even those who do them harm--as people with God given dignity. It's through this Christ like love that kingdom of heaven comes closest to the people of this world.

Have no doubt. Jesus still invited his friends to pick their crosses up and follow him.
the question I find myself asking today is not if Jesus followers will pick up the cross but when?
Peace and thanks for reading, John