Getting it right – both easter and the cross!

You really should read the words I read during “Coffee with the Lord” this Easter morning…

“And Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Mark 8:31-33)

Sometimes we’re no different than Peter! We just don’t get it! We love the confession “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” We embrace it’s majesty – we are attracted to it’s triumphalism. But we have a hard time processing “the Son of Man must suffer man things, be rejected, and be killed!” It just doesn’t fit our preconceived ideas of how things ought to turn out for Someone called “the Christ!”

But Jesus saw suffering and death on the cross as absolutely essential! He believed it was a necessary aspect of the Heavenly Father’s redemptive plan. He declared it fulfilled Scripture! Jesus believed Isaiah 53 could not be a redemptive reality without it!

So in the strongest possible language Jesus rebuked the very one who had the audacity to rebuke Him! He told the very one who had rightly confessed “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29) – “Get behind me Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” In effect his rebuke communicated, “Peter you just don’t get it! The Heavenly Father’s redemptive plan includes both suffering and glory!”

And like Peter, so often we make the same mistake today. We revel in the glory but tend to ignore or avoid the suffering! I think it’s the reason that the very next instruction Jesus gave to those gathered around Him in Mark 8 include these words…

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (From Mark 8:34-38)

So on this Easter morning I rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension to the Father’s right hand and all the hope-filled living that means for me and for you! But I am also deeply aware my journey, as His, will include self-renunciation (a “cross”) and a “losing of my life for His sake and the gospels” in order to gain the glory He promised “when He comes in the glory of His Father with the Holy angels.”

Oh, Lord help me! I want to get this right!

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