24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 50:4-9 II:
27 And Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesare'a
Philip'pi; and on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that
28 And they told him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Eli'jah; and
others one of the prophets."
29 And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him,
"You are the Christ."
30 And he charged them to tell no one about him.
31 And he 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.
32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, "Get
behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men."
34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to
them, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take
up his cross and follow me.
35 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his
life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.
- (v.28) In the popular mind, the Messiah was a nationalistic, political leader that would restore the glory days of Israel. Jewish people of Jesus' day (and still now) believed that Elijah had to re-appear before the Messiah would come. John the Baptist was considered by many to be Elijah. Jesus was also considered by the public in a similar fashion.
- (v.30) Because of the political implication of Messiahship in the popular understanding, Jesus did not want his disciples to publicize him being the Messiah lest it precipitates a revolution against Rome.
- (v.31) "Son of Man" (ben adam) appears 81 times in the Gospels and never used by anyone but Jesus to call himself. It has two meanings. One is simply mean "I." The other, taken from Dan 7:13-14, is a heavenly figure entrusted by God with authority, glory and sovereign power.
- (vv.32-33) Suffering and rejection had no place in the popular concept of Messiah, thus it was normal for Peter to get upset with Jesus' prediction. Yet, by calling Peter "Satan" (meaning the "adversary") Jesus did not mean that Peter was the devil. He only pointed out that Peter's attempt to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross was like that of the devil, which is adversarial to God's plan.
- (vv.34-35) Discipleship may result in the lost of physical life but that loss is insignificant when compare with gaining eternal life.
One Main Point
Following Jesus is no rose garden. It will cost you everything.
- If you meet Jesus today, how do you answer his question: "Who do you say I am?"
- In what areas of your life (relationships, priorities, family, career...) does "your way" still conflict with "Jesus' way"?
- What does the call to "deny yourself and carry the cross" mean to you personally? How do you apply that in your life?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community