21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
When someone makes bold claims, we are forced to decide what we believe about them. In this passage Jesus makes many statements that, unless they are true, would be crazy. But if they are true, there could be no small response. We would do well not to minimize or ignore his claims. He foretells of his death, burial and resurrection, followed by a call to give up our lives to follow him.
Following Jesus starts the process of dying to self. Remember, a cross is a killing device and he tells us to take it up. It seems ironic that Jesus’s call to be saved and to find life begins with dying to self and losing the life we currently have. What is he trying to point us to?
When we remain consumed by our own passions, desires, wants and dreams, we have no space for the passions, desires, wants and dreams of Jesus. When we are self-consumed, it leaves no space to be consumed by Jesus. Again, we are forced to wrestle with what we believe about the boldness of the claims of Jesus. Is he worth it?
We will never experience the life to which Jesus has called us without losing the one we already have. We won’t lose the life we have unless we trust that it is worth giving up everything for him. Do you believe Jesus is who he says he is? Are you willing to die to yourself and find life in him?