There are two questions posed by Jesus to his disciples. One, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Two, “Who do you say I am?”
Several answers are possible for the first question: A prophet, a good man, a miracle worker, healer, teacher, and so on. All of them are true but it does not matter if you are unable to answer the second question.
Jesus is asking this personal and specific question to you today: “My child, you have walked with me all these years. You have listened to my teaching. You have loved me and served me in many ways. Tell me, who do you say I am?”
Peter answered Jesus saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” That was perfect. Jesus appreciated that answer. Yet when Jesus told his disciples that he was headed to the cross, Peter took Jesus aside and rebuking him said, “Never, Lord!”
Jesus had a hard word for Peter. “Get behind me, Satan.” Why? His words were directly standing in the way of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, his submission to God’s will and finally dying on the cross.
And then Jesus made it very clear. If anyone would go after him, he has to deny himself, take up his cross and follow him. If you truly wish to follow Jesus then you need to learn to lose your life.
Now that does not mean dying. It means saying YES to God’s plan for your life day by day. That can go against your logic and thinking and the plans you have for your life. It also means saying No to all the voices that tells you to take life easy and avoid the cross.
Following Jesus is not easy. It immediately makes you stand out from the crowd. You will be made fun of, misunderstood, mocked, and sometimes avoided by those who were close to you. It is then that you truly accompany Jesus on his journey to the cross.
Therefore, just saying “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” is not enough. Instead ask yourself how much closer to God you are today in understanding his will and making every decision in your life with the cross of Jesus in your mind?
The more strongly you hold on to things in your life, the harder it is to follow Jesus. The lesser hold or grip the things of this world has on you, the nearer you are to the cross. Then every seeming loss by this world’s measure will account heavily in banking on the cross of Jesus.
Perhaps you answered the question of Jesus correctly. You got an A+. But then Jesus says, “Follow me.” You now know he goes by the way of the cross. Do not stop him. You are called not to lead, but follow him.
(Based on Matthew 16:13–25)
“The Seed Must Die: A Story Of Christian Love In Action In Occupied Korea.”
This short books tells the story of Pastor Son’s family in Korea, then under Japanese rule and the succeeding troublesome post war years. The family was persecuted for not participating in Shinto worship. Pastor Son’s two eldest boys, Joh and Matthew were killed by Communist rioters eventually. How could they still thank God?
Pastor Son not only thanked God for his martyred sons but sought out those who killed him and pleaded that they would not be punished but should be freed so that he can proclaim the Gospel to them!
Not only that Pastor Son never complained God but he followed Jesus that “extra mile.”