40 Days 2020 Week 1
[SCRIPTURE] Mark 8: 27-37
Have you ever gotten the answer right but missed the point? In our first scripture reading leading up to Easter, Peter gets the answer right: “You are the Messiah.” But Peter and the other disciples missed the point about the Messiah. Their expectation of the Messiah was victory over the occupying forces and a return to the golden era of Israel. So you can imagine how the disciples reacted when Jesus told them not only was he not doing that, but that the Messiah must be rejected, killed and rise again. This is not exactly a great plan for restoring Israel or for gathering a following. But then Jesus takes it a step further and also makes it personal for anyone desiring to follow Him: “...not only is the happening for me, but you also will be called to pick up your cross and follow me.” The paradox in all of this is that Jesus says in losing our lives we actual save our lives. Our natural tendency is to hold onto things, whether it’s our pride or people or possessions, because we mistakenly think it will protect our life. But as we pick up our cross and lose our life for Him and for the gospel, we discover that we find our true selves.
What cross has the Lord asked you to take up? Is there anything that you might be holding onto in an unhealthy way that the Lord would ask you to let go of? What is an experience that you’ve had where you’ve given up something and actually found yourself gaining so much more?
Lord, thank you that as we follow You, You teach us again and again what it means that You are the Messiah. Lead us and guide in Your ways and in the ways of the Kingdom of God. Show us the cross that we get to bear and help us to appropriately let go of the things that hinder us from following You and finding true Life in You! Amen