What are expectations for your life? What is it that you desire for your life? What do you think God might be speaking to you about life? For Peter, what was about to happen to Jesus is not something that he desires. Peter is adamant about making that clear to Jesus.
“Peter took him (Jesus) aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you’ (Matthew 16:22)”
Jesus has shared with his disciples that he must undergo suffering and even experience death. However, Peter does not want that to happen to Jesus. In response to Peter, Jesus rebuked the comment and stated that Peter was not thinking about the things from above, but only about things here on earth. While Jesus did indicate that he would be raised to life on the third day, Peter only thought about the absence of Jesus from their lives through death.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it (Matthew 16:25)”
Jesus continues to speak to the disciples regarding the value of life and shares that to those who try to save their lives, they end up losing them. Jesus knows that life on our own does not have the greatest value. We were created for something bigger than just this life here on earth. To hold on to this life alone will eventually end in disappointment. However, those who lose their life for the sake of Christ – who can grant us more than just this life – they will find a greater fulfillment.
“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)”
Jesus desires for us to experience more than just this life. It is through his death and resurrection that the promise of eternal life is made possible. Along with this promise, we receive the promise of forgiveness for our sins, and the power of sin has been removed. It can be hard, though, to see the benefits of the life Jesus seeks to offer us, for the world tries to lure us into gaining possessions. Unfortunately, possessions will one day fade away. We are encouraged to pursue something that will last for eternity. This is the gift of life granted to us through Jesus Christ.
In the moment Peter heard Jesus speak about suffering and death, he missed hearing the good news that would come afterwards. May we see beyond the pain and struggles of this life – as well as the temporary fulfillment of possessions – to know that the fullest life is yet to come. May we find our life rooted in the truth that we, God’s beloved children, have been created in God’s image, redeemed through Christ’s death and resurrection, and sustained by the Holy Spirit
Pastor Arlyn ><>