Matthew___16

Scripture

 
Matthew 16:24-25
 
24Then 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.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Jesus was speaking with His disciples and predicted His death. He rebuked (corrected with sharp disapproval and criticism), Peter’s response to his death because Peter was concerned about what Jesus said at the human level, not on the God level.
 
(Reference: Oxford dictionary)
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Jesus had to die to save ALL of mankind, including His disciples. That was the cross that Jesus had to bear. His life was His offering to God.
 
Peter didn’t understand the big picture and that’s why Jesus was frustrated with what he said. If Jesus didn’t die, Peter and the rest of the world would not live and would still be under the wrath of a just God. I also believe that Jesus’ words to Peter was a foretelling of how Peter would betray Jesus. Peter’s denial of Jesus was because he was more concerned about what others would think of him (human concerns) instead of what Jesus thought of him.
 
Life Application
 
What does taking up your cross look like?
 
In Biblical times, with taking up one’s cross, people literally had to die for their faith in Jesus. All the disciples were martyred, except for John.
 
Some of us may still be called to physical martyrdom, but more commonly in today’s times, taking up one’s cross daily means doing everything different than the world does it. It’s a struggle because although we are called to not live OF the world, we still live IN it and can easily be influenced by it. That’s the importance of staying close to Jesus daily. Here are personal examples of how I’ve had to take up my cross and lose myself completely to Jesus.
 
-Forgiving people who have hurt me deeply and responding in love and kindness instead of chewing their head off and hurting them back the way they’ve hurt me.
 
-Choosing to live a lifestyle different from everyone else in order to be more generous with time and money for Kingdom purposes.
 
-Setting up safeguards to protect my integrity and marriage. I had to do the same thing before marriage too.
 
-Choosing not to be part of the rat race and setting aside one day a week for Sabbath rest.
 
-Letting go of a higher paying job in order to live out God’s calling for my life.
 
-Looking at suffering as a blessing, instead of a curse.
 
-Being comfortable with having a reputation of being “weird.”
 
What are other examples you can think of of taking up your cross in your own life?
 
In John 17, before Jesus was betrayed and arrested, He prayed for His disciples and for ALL believers. If you’ve never read it, I recommend that you read it. It’s very encouraging to me because if God was to hear anyone’s prayer, it would be Jesus’ prayer. Jesus prayed in advance for us!
 
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
‭‭John‬ ‭17:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Thank you Lord! Amen.
 
-Michelle Gaddi