Matthew 16 21 – 27
Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!”
But Jesus didn’t swerve. “Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works.”
Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it.
Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
“Don’t be in such a hurry to go into business for yourself. Before you know it the Son of Man will arrive with all the splendour of his Father, accompanied by an army of angels. You’ll get everything you have coming to you, a personal gift. This isn’t pie in the sky by and by. Some of you standing here are going to see it take place, see the Son of Man in kingdom glory.”
Jesus is beginning to talk about the path he was destined to take. And then to have his closest friend say – No, you can’t do this to me, You mean too much to me. You can’t leave me – must have been an even greater temptation than those on the mountaintop.
Control and obstruction hides itself in human love. It is so difficult to give those you love their own freedom. ‘If you love someone you let them go’ – no wonder that was written by ‘Anonymous’ – how hard it is to do. Even harder to release them to the mystery of God’s Will – why Peter struggles with the need to suffer, as we still do today. Jesus doesn’t turn his back on Peter, only the temptation and the show of ego that tried to put Peter in charge of Jesus’ life; to second-guess God.
Which is why he says to all of them that they must renounce themselves – not who they are in God’s eyes – but who they are in their own eyes and the eyes of the world. The cross is heavy enough without trying to balance ego and ambition – one or the other will topple – which is up to you.